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karira

Adarsh row: Babus may be told to go

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karira

As reported by Prafulla Marpakwar in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 05 December 2010:

Adarsh row: Babus may be told to go - The Times of India

 

Adarsh row: Babus may be told to go

 

 

MUMBAI: Chief minister

Prithviraj Chavan is likely to ask both information commissioner Ramanand Tiwari and human rights commission member Subhash Lalla to step down after their names figured in the multi-crore Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society scam. Lalla, who has denied his involvement, has proceeded on long leave.

 

"Under the legal provisions, the state government does not have the powers to remove them. Chavan will use his good offices and request them to step down on moral grounds. If they don't, the government will not hesitate to ask the governor to initiate steps for their removal," a senior official told TOI on Saturday. While many other bureaucrats have been caught in the Adarsh scam net, Tiwari and Lalla hold constitutional posts, thus making their offence graver.

 

According to official records, Tiwari's son Omkar and Lalla's mother and daughter have been allotted flats in Adarsh. Tiwari was urban development secretary when the Adarsh file was processed while Lalla was secretary to the then chief minister. "We thought that after Ashok Chavan was sacked, most of the bureaucrats would withdraw from the membership of Adarsh on their own. Since that did not happen, the CM has stepped in to clean up the bureaucracy," the source said.

 

As per the CM's directives, letters have been sent to 18 officials, including former BMC commissioner J M Phatak, former director of education J M Abhyankar, Tiwari and Lalla to submit information on their source of funds and whether they had intimated the government before acquiring flat in Adarsh.

 

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Atul Patankar

As reported by Sukanya Shetty at expressindia.com on Dec 10, 2010

 

CBI Adarsh FIR likely to name ex-CM Ashok Chavan, others

 

Mumbai The CBI plans to file the first FIR in the Adarsh Housing Society scandal next week and accuse 18 people, including former chief minister Ashok Chavan and some top bureaucrats, of violating laws to allow the 31-storey building to be constructed.

Chavan was forced to quit last month, weeks after his name was linked to alleged shady dealings that led to defence officers, bureaucrats and politicians from across the spectrum securing apartments in the upmarket Cuffe Parade area of South Mumbai in violation of environmental and building laws. Three of Chavan’s relatives had also got apartments in Adarsh, but the former chief minister has denied any wrongdoing and said he was forced to quit due to a “perception created by the media”. The CBI has been probing the case for about six months, but an FIR had not yet been registered. “Eighteen names including that of Chavan have been finalised. The team will take a final decision on December 14 after a meeting at the headquarters, after which the FIR will be filed,” a source in the investigating team told The Indian Express. The 18 people are expected to be accused of forgery for purpose of cheating, using as genuine a forged document or electronic record, cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property, and under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

 

“It’s easy to register a complaint but very difficult to prove it. The offenders, most of whom held some or the other important post, have tried to legalise their illegal moves by either passing a Government Resolution or issuing a notification,” the source added.

 

Bureaucrats who are likely to be named in the FIR include P V Deshmukh, deputy secretary in the state Urban Development Department during 2002-03. His role has been under the scanner because he allegedly misconstrued a routine Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) letter as a No Objection Certificate (NOC) for construction in the eco-sensitive CRZ II zone.

 

Other serving or retired IAS officers expected to be named in the FIR include Ramanand Tiwari, current Information Commissioner and a former principal secretary in the Urban Development Department headed by the chief minister; Pradeep Vyas, a former Collector of Mumbai who allegedly misled Parliament when questioned about land allotment to Adarsh; Uttam Khobragade, a former general manager of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply & Transport Undertaking (BEST); Subhash Lala, principal secretary to then chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh; Arun Pawar, former Income Tax commissioner; J M Abhyankar, former project director for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan; C S Sangitrao, former suburban Collector and also secretary to then CM Vilasrao Deshmukh; Jairaj Pathak, former commissioner of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. All these officials or their relatives were allotted houses in Adarsh.

 

“Although we have got 18 names, the case will be filed against the 18 and some others who will be categorised as unknown accused. The role of defence officials and some others in the state government is still being probed,” the CBI source said. “All the accused, in their capacity as a politican, bureaucrat or an influential person, flouted rules and acquired houses in the name of their close relatives.”

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Atul Patankar

As reported by Prafulla Marpakwar at timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 28 December 2010

 

MUMBAI: After days of speculation about the likelihood of their dismissal, the axe has fallen on information commissioner Ramanand Tiwari and state human rights commission member Subhash Lalla for their alleged involvement in the Adarsh cooperative housing society scam. On Monday evening, both ex-bureaucrats were summoned to Mantralaya and, as per the directives of chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, were asked to quit, a top government official told TOI. If they don't tender their resignations, the government will initiate steps for their dismissal.

 

Tiwari was urban development secretary when the Adarsh file was being processed while Lalla was secretary to the chief minister. Both have relatives who are part of the controversial housing society. Tiwari's son, Omkar, is a member as are Lalla's mother Susheela Shaligram and daughter Sumeela Sethi.

 

The Democratic Front government is also set to reject the replies of the sundry other babus who have protested their innocence and launch a high-level departmental probe against them. On December 3, the general administration department (GAD) had sent letters to all the 21 officers, asking them if they had ever dealt with the Adarsh file, the source of their funds and whether their sons or daughters were members of the society. Apart from Tiwari and Lalla, letters were sent to former municipal commissioner J M Phatak, former Mumbai collectors Pradeep Vyas and I Z Kundan, former chief secretary D K Sankaran and his wife Joyce Sankaran, former BEST general manager Uttam Khobragade and former transport secretary C S Sangitrao.

 

All the 21 officers submitted their replies to the GAD, saying they were not involved in the scam and that they or their sons or daughters had enrolled as members of the society in a routine manner. Of the 21 officers, two veteran bureaucrats did admit that they had dealt with the file but added that were not involved in the membership of the society either for themselves or their children.

 

Though there was no response from chief secretary J P Dange, according to reports the GAD is all set to reject the babus replies and invoke the provisions of the All-India Services (Conduct) rules to launch a departmental probe against them. For those who are not all-India service officers, an inquiry will be conducted as per the provisions of the Maharashtra Civil Service rules.

 

The government official told TOI that prima facie, it appeared that the officials had violated Rule 3 of the All-India Services (Conduct) rules. "The rule is very clear," he said. It says that "every member of the service shall at all times maintain absolute integrity and devotion to duty and shall do nothing which is unbecoming of a member of the service." In the present case, the government feels that the bureaucrat's act of securing membership of the society either for themselves or their relatives was not right.

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Atul Patankar
On Monday evening, both ex-bureaucrats were summoned to Mantralaya and, as per the directives of chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, were asked to quit, a top government official told TOI. If they don't tender their resignations, the government will initiate steps for their dismissal.

 

Speks volumes about the so called 'independence' of our ex-bureaucrats turned information commissioners!

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karira

There is no clause in the RTI Act where the Government or the CM can ask a information commissioner to quit.

 

Under what section of the RTI Act will the Government initiate steps for the ICs dismissal ?

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aksmat

Govt can recommend to Governor

Governor acting u/s 17(3) , 17(4) .

or the Governor's reference to SC

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Atul Patankar

A lot of activists are demanding that the governor uses his powers under section 17(3)(e) to remove Tiwari from his office

17 (3). Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), the Governor may by order remove from office the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner if a State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner, as the case may be,—

e. has acquired such financial or other interest as is likely to affect prejudicially his functions as the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner.

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sarbajit
A lot of activists are demanding that the governor uses his powers under section 17(3)(e) to remove Tiwari from his office

 

1) Ramanand Tiwari has not acquired any financial interest, his son-in-law has !

2) First let the UPA govt remove CVC.

3) Why would any person appointed to such an "autonomous" post feel the need to resign against allegations as weak as this?

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karira

Several people all over the country (including yours truly !) have been breaking their heads in invoking anything in Sec 17 to get ICs removed.......none of them have had success.

 

Now, let the CM and the State Government also try...and keep trying like the rest of us.

 

As I have said previously, to get a IC removed is more difficult than to get a judge impeached !

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Atul Patankar
3) Why would any person appointed to such an "autonomous" post feel the need to resign against allegations as weak as this?

 

Hope the government learns this lesson while making further appointment.

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Atul Patankar

I have a (faint) hope that the political situation in Maharashtra will compel the government to do something - it is being seen as challenge to CM's power. Also, the Scam is too much visible. And the government has to be seen to be doing something.

 

My guess is that, some arm twisting will take place behind the screen, some 'quid pro quo' will be reached, and Mr Tiwari will bow out without the use of section 17. This is a painful option for all concerned - but the other options may be in the category of unthinkable.

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karira

As reported in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 29 December 2010:

Invoke section 17 of RTI act to remove Tiwari - The Times of India

 

Invoke section 17 of RTI act to remove Tiwari

 

 

PUNE: City-based non-governmental organisations on Wednesday sent a letter to chief minister Prithviraj Chavan saying that the state should make a recommendation to the governor to invoke section 17 (3) (e) of the Right to Information Act (RTI) 2005 removing Ramanand Tiwari from the post of state information commissioner.

 

The letter was sent by Sajag Nagrik Manch president Vivek Velankar, Surajya Sangharsha Samiti president Vijay Kumbhar, RTI activist Vihar Durve and Nagrik Chetana Manch president Maj Gen (retd) S C N Jatar.

 

It was sent following media reports that Tiwari was not tendering his resignation, despite being asked to do so by the government, on account of his alleged involvement in the Adarsh society scam. Tiwari, whose son had got membership in Adarsh, was the urban development secretary and was directly dealing with the Adarsh proposal.

 

The letter said, "The media has published news items stating that the state government has directed Ramanand Tiwari, state information commissioner, to resign from his post for his alleged involvement in the Adarsh scam, but Tiwari is not co-operating and tendering his resignation."

 

The letter pointed out that the Governor of Maharashtra has powers under section 17 (3) (e) of the RTI Act 2005, which states that "Governor may by order remove from office the State Information Commissioner if a state information commissioner has acquired such financial or other interest as is likely to affect prejudicially his function as the State Information Commissioner."

 

"Tiwari has acquired such interests in the Adarsh case wherein if any second appeal pertaining to this case comes before him for hearing, his function as information commissioner can get prejudicially affected," the letter said.

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karira

As reported by Shubhangi Khapre in dnaindia.com on 29 December 2010:

Two Adarsh-tainted babus refuse to resign - Mumbai - DNA

 

Two Adarsh-tainted babus refuse to resign

 

The state might have decided to crack the whip on bureaucrats involved in the Adarsh society scandal, but action against the babus may not be easy. State chief information commissioner Ramanand Tiwari and state human rights commissioner Subash Lala, who were asked to resign, have refused to do so. They have cited that the proper procedure for their removal was not followed.

 

“The state government has asked the senior officials to step down. But they haven’t resigned,” said chief secretary SA Dange. Highly-placed sources in the government said the government had issued only oral orders to the duo. Since the posts they hold are constitutional positions, certain rules have to be followed before taking action.

 

“Under section 17 (1) of the RTI Act, the state government has to seek the consent of the governor before taking action against the state information officer. It also needs to inform the high court and get its consent,” said a legal expert. It’s the governor’s discretion whether to order the suspension of Tiwari till the entire inquiry is completed. If his name is cleared in the case, he can be reinstated, he added.

 

In case of state human rights commissioner (Lala) the state government has to evoke section 18 — Human Rights Act — to seek the permission of the president of India. It now transpires that the state government has not carried out any of these exercises before issuing a verbal order asking Tiwari and Lala to step down.

 

Bureaucrats have started questioning the government’s move singling out these two officers. More than a dozen IAS officers’ children or relatives own a flat in Adarsh, they said.

 

“Both Tiwari and Lala hold constitutional posts after retirement, which makes it easier for the administration to act. It cannot act in haste in case of tainted babus still in service. The government has already constituted a judicial probe,” a senior official explained.

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karira
Hope the government learns this lesson while making further appointment.

 

The fruit we reap today is the seed we sow yesterday !

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Atul Patankar

As reported at zeenews.com on 03 january 2011

 

Mumbai: Former IAS officer Subhash Lalla, whose kin owns a flat in the scam-hit Adarsh Housing Society in south Mumbai, Monday resigned as a member of Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission.

 

Lalla met Governor K Sankaranarayanan at Raj Bhavan this morning and submitted his resignation.

 

"The Governor has accepted Lalla`s resignation," a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said.

 

Lalla, who was secretary in the Chief Minister`s Office when the Housing Society`s file was being processed in the state secretariat, is the first bureaucrat to resign for his alleged involvement in the Adarsh scam.

 

Ashok Chavan was to forced to quit as Chief Minister last year after it was revealed that his kin including late mo ther-in-law, owned flats in the Adarsh society.

 

To reports that the state government had asked former bureaucrats Ramanand Tiwari and Lalla to step down over their alleged involvement in the housing scam, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had declined to comment.

 

"Chief Secretary was asked to meet the two officers to elicit certain information (on Adarsh scam). I will not comment further," Chavan had said last week. Tiwari, former Urban Development Secretary, is the State Information Commissioner.

 

Lalla, in his resignation letter, said he had resigned to maintain dignity of the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission.

 

He said the resignation is voluntarily to avoid further embarrassment to the Government or to himself and there was no feeling of guilt or wrongdoing associated with the decision.

 

He said his name had been "unfortunately" and "unfairly" linked to the Adarsh scam.

 

He maintained that he had no role in the purchase of flats in the Society.

 

Lalla said membership of his relatives in the Society was much prior to his coming to the secretariat (Mantralaya) in 2000 which is due to his father, who was a defence personnel.

 

"My father late Shaligram Lalla, who worked in Military Engineering Services retired in Kamptee Cantonment in Nagpur district and continued to stay there during his post-retirement period. "R C Thakur, the chief promoter of Adarsh Co-Operative Housing Society was my father`s neighbour. Because of good social relationship between them, my father was taken as a member of Adarsh Co-Operative Housing Society which was originally meant for defence and defence allied personnel and their families," he said.

 

"After my father`s death, the membership was given to my mother Sushila Shaligram. My daughter was inducted as a member as there were some vacancies available during that initial period of society formation because of relation with defence personnel. My mother has been a member of this society since July 1998 and my daughter since April 1999."

 

"I was posted in Mantralaya for the first time in mid-2000 as a Secretary to the Social Justice Department and to Chief Minister`s office much later in 2004," Lalla said.

 

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan met the Governor at Raj Bhavan here this afternoon.

 

What transpired during the meeting was not immediately known, but Raj Bhavan sources said the Adarsh issue might have been discussed.

 

Meanwhile, leader of Shiv Sena in the Maharashtra Assembly Subhash Desai said State Information Commissioner Ramanand Tiwari should also step down, over his alleged involvement in the Housing scam.

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karira

Two different threads merged into one

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karira

As reported by Satish Nandgaonkar in telepgraphindia.com on 04 January 2010:

The Telegraph - Calcutta (Kolkata) | Nation | Adarsh broom sweeps out IAS officer

 

Adarsh broom sweeps out IAS officer

 

Mumbai, Jan. 3: A former IAS officer close to central ministers Sushil Kumar Shinde and Vilasrao Deshmukh has resigned from the Maharashtra Human Rights Commission, marking the beginning of an administrative clean-up in the wake of the Adarsh housing scandal.

 

Subhash Lalla, whose mother and daughter own flats in Adarsh in South Mumbai, called on Maharashtra governor K. Sankaranarayanan at Raj Bhavan this morning, and submitted his resignation. “The governor has accepted Lalla’s resignation,” a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said.

 

In the evening, the government carried out sweeping changes in the administrative set-up and replaced several officials, including the chief secretary. Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority chief Ratnakar Gaikwad was appointed chief secretary, replacing J.P. Dange.

 

The Mumbai municipal commissioner and the principal secretary to the revenue department have also been changed. Changes were also ordered in departments like urban development, finance and planning, government sources said.

 

Lalla’s exit came a day after CBI sources indicated that they had collected adequate evidence to nail some top bureaucrats and army officers for allegedly manipulating records in the Adarsh Housing Society. The purge is also in line with the clean-up Prithviraj Chavan had promised when he replaced Ashok Chavan as chief minister in November.

 

While the furore over the Adarsh scam cost Ashok Chavan his job, Lalla became the first of the 11 IAS officers under the scanner to put in his papers.

 

The Prithviraj Chavan administration had last week informally advised Lalla and state information commissioner Ramanand Tiwari to step down on “moral grounds”.

 

However, both had stayed defiant, forcing the government to consider the long-drawn option of seeking the consent of the Supreme Court and the President as the officials held constitutional posts and could only be removed under the provisions of the Protection of Human Rights Act and the Right to Information Act.

 

At the 20-minute “one-on-one” meeting with the governor, Chavan is believed to have discussed the Adarsh scam.

 

Lalla was the secretary to the urban development department before he was appointed secretary to former chief minister Shinde in 2004. He also served in the same capacity for a brief period when Vilasrao Deshmukh was appointed chief minister for a second term after the 2004 elections.

 

Shinde is now the Union power minister while Deshmukh is the heavy industries minister at the Centre.

 

“Lalla had no role to play in the Adarsh scam when he was urban development secretary. But as the chief minister’s secretary, he wrote letters to the urban development and revenue departments to grant the concessions demanded by the Adarsh promoters. There was clearly a clash of interest when his relatives became members of the society,” said RTI activist Simpreet Singh.

 

After resigning, Lalla refused to admit any wrongdoing. He said his resignation was “voluntary” to maintain the dignity of the rights panel, and save the government from embarrassment.

 

In the letter, Lalla said his father Shaligram Lalla, who worked in the Military Engineering Services in Nagpur, and Adarsh chief promoter R.C. Thakur, who was also posted in Nagpur, were neighbours and hence his father was made a member of the Adarsh society “which was originally meant for defence and defence allied personnel and their families”.

 

Lalla said after his father’s demise, his mother Sushila Shaligram was inducted as a member in July 1998 while his daughter Sumeela Sethi was made a member in April 1999.

 

“I was posted in Mantralaya (the secretariat) for the first time in mid-2000 as secretary to the social justice department and to the chief minister’s office much later in 2004. Hence it may kindly be seen that membership of my relatives is much prior to my coming to Mantralaya,” Lalla wrote in his resignation letter.

 

“I want to clarify here that this act of resigning from the post is totally voluntary and in no way an admission of any guilt or wrongdoing on my part and I am confident that any fair inquiry will conclude that,” he added.

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Atul Patankar

As reported at thehindu.com on January 5, 2011

 

Adarsh scam: Maharashtra Information Commissioner submits leave application

 

Maharashtra Information Commissioner Ramanand Tiwari, whose son owns a flat in the controversial Adarsh Housing Society here, has submitted his leave application to the Governor, amid demand by the opposition for his ouster.

 

“Tiwari had submitted leave application to the Governor, who is yet to take any decision on the matter,” a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said.

 

Shiv Sena leader Subhash Desai has said that the government should sack Tiwari, a former IAS officer, for his alleged involvement in the Adarsh scam.

 

On January 3, another former bureaucrat Subhash Lalla, resigned as member of the State Human Rights Commission in the backdrop of his alleged link in the scam.

 

Ashok Chavan was to forced to quit as Chief Minister in November last year after it was revealed that his kin including late mother-in-law, owned flats in the upscale Adarsh society.

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Atul Patankar

As reported at timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 05 January 2011

 

Adarsh scam: Maharashtra info commissioner leave application rejected

MUMBAI: Maharashtra information commissioner Ramanand Tiwari, whose son has a flat in the scam-tainted Adarsh housing society here, has applied for long leave but his plea was rejected by Maharashtra governor K Sankaranarayanan.

 

"Tiwari had sought leave from January 7 to March 31. The governor has not granted leave to him," a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said.

 

Shiv Sena leader Subhash Desai has said the government should sack Tiwari, a former IAS officer, for his alleged involvement in the Adarsh scam.

 

On January 3, another former bureaucrat Subhash Lalla resigned as a member of the State Human Rights Commission against the backdrop of his alleged link to the scam.

 

Ashok Chavan was forced to quit as chief minister in November last year after it was revealed that his relatives, including the late mother-in-law, owned flats in the upscale Adarsh society.

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karira

“Tiwari had submitted leave application to the Governor, who is yet to take any decision on the matter,” a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said.

 

Why does he have to submit his leave request to the Governor ?

Shouldn't it be submitted to the CIC of Maharashtra SIC ?

What happened to Sec 15(4) ?

 

4. The general superintendence, direction and management of the affairs of the State Information Commission shall vest in the State Chief Information Commissioner who shall be assisted by the State Information Commissioners and may exercise all such powers and do all such acts and things which may be exercised or done by the State Information Commission autonomously without being subjected to directions by any other authority under this Act.

 

It looks as if this IC (as well as the Governors office) needs to read the RTI Act properly.

Wonder how was he working till now as a IC if he even did not know as to whom he has to apply for leave ?

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aksmat

See the Orders / decisions of these kids of Old-age creches , you will understand how they are functioning .

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Sajib Nandi

Adarsh scam: Information Commissioner Tiwari's leave application rejected

 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

 

Adarsh scam: Information Commissioner Tiwari's leave application rejected - Oneindia News

 

Mumbai, Jan 5 (ANI): Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan on Wednesday refused to grant leave to Information Commissioner Ramanand Tiwari, whose son owns a flat in the controversial Adarsh Housing Society in Mumbai.

 

"Tiwari had sought leave from January 7 to March 31. The Governor has not granted leave to him," a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said.

 

Tiwari had submitted his leave application to the State Governor, amid a demand by the opposition for his ouster.

 

Earlier on Monday, former IAS officer Subhash Lalla resigned as a member of Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission following allegations of his involvement in the scam.

 

Lalla, who was secretary in the Chief Minister's Office when the Housing Society's file was being processed in the state secretariat, is the first bureaucrat to resign for his alleged involvement in the scam.

 

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has claimed to have found evidence of alleged forgery and manipulation of documents on part of some army officials and bureaucrats in the scam.

 

CBI sources said that some of the documents seized by the investigating agency were indicative of some forgery having allegedly been committed by a few defence officials in criminal conspiracy with bureaucrats of Maharashtra government and private individuals.

 

A decision on registering the case under provisions of IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act would be taken once a clearance came from the legal department of the CBI.

 

Earlier on December 21, the Bombay High Court slammed the Maharashtra Government over the controversial Adarsh Housing Society scam saying it is 'a clear-cut case of manipulation' by its officers in which everybody who was supposed to clear the file was 'gifted' a flat.

 

The 31-storey Adarsh Society, originally meant for Kargil war heroes, landed in controversy after media reports said several politicians, bureaucrats and defence personnel owned flats there.

 

The CBI had on November 15 registered a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) to probe the alleged role of former and serving Army officers, with the permission of Defence Minister A K Antony. (ANI)

 

Leave snub to Adarsh officer

 

SATISH NANDGAONKAR

 

The Telegraph - Calcutta (Kolkata) | Nation | Leave snub to Adarsh officer

 

Mumbai, Jan. 5: Maharashtra information commissioner Ramanand Tiwari, who is resisting pressure to resign over his son owning a flat in the controversial Adarsh Housing Society, was refused a three-month leave by the governor today.

 

Sources said Tiwari had last evening sought leave from January 7 to March 31 without citing any specific reason. “The governor has not granted leave,” a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said.

 

The governor’s move has put the ball in the court of chief minister Prithviraj Chavan who is likely to send a formal request to Raj Bhavan to initiate proceedings for Tiwari’s removal under the Right to Information Act.

 

In Aurangabad, Chavan said action would be taken against Tiwari.

 

“It is obvious that Tiwari was trying to buy time since the leave application cited no specific reasons for leave. He was trying to hide behind immunity granted to information commissioners by the RTI Act. Removing an information commissioner is a long drawn process where the governor has to seek Supreme Court’s permission under Section 17 of the RTI Act,” said a senior government official.

 

Tiwari, who was the urban development secretary for six years under former chief ministers Sushil Kumar Shinde and Vilasrao Deshmukh, refused to resign when the Prithviraj Chavan government informally asked him to do so last week.

 

The government’s move was prompted by a Bombay High Court rap. The court had virtually indicted the state’s top bureaucrats for manipulating records to favour the society and observed that flats were “gifted” to their relatives in return for favours. The court had named Tiwari and his son Omkar, who owns one of the 103 flats in the 31-storey Colaba building.

 

The Shiv Sena and the BJP had been demanding that Tiwari and state human rights commission member Subhash Lalla, another former urban development department secretary whose mother and daughter own flats in Adarsh, be sacked. Both were appointed to constitutional posts after they had retired.

 

On January 3, Lalla resigned, saying he quit because he did not want the government to be embarrassed. He said his resignation was “voluntary” but should not be construed as an admission of “guilt or wrongdoing”.

 

After Lalla’s resignation, pressure mounted on Tiwari to resign. Instead, he sent a leave application to governor K. Sankaranarayanan late last evening.

 

The Chavan government will appoint a two-member judicial commission comprising a retired Supreme Court or high court judge and a retired chief secretary-level officer to probe the Adarsh scam. The commission is expected to be asked to submit its report within six months. Chavan had made the announcement in the winter session of the Assembly last month.

 

The Adarsh scam cost Congress leader Ashok Chavan the chief minister’s post in November after revelations that flats in the society had been allotted to his in-laws. Lalla was the first of 11 IAS officers whose roles were under the scanner.

 

A total of 21 officers, including some IPS officers, were sent showcause notices in December, asking them to reveal their sources of income and if they violated the All India Service Conduct rules governing civil servants.

 

Maharashtra Governor rejects Tiwari's leave application

 

The Hindu : News / National : Maharashtra Governor rejects Tiwari's leave application

 

Maharashtra Governor K. Sankaranarayanan on Wednesday rejected the leave application of State Information Commissioner Ramanand Tiwari, who is involved in the Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society scam.

 

Mr. Tiwari sought leave from January 7 to March 31.

 

He is one of the two former IAS officials who were asked by the government to step down. The other, Subhash Lalla, resigned as member of the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission two days ago. Meanwhile, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said in Aurangabad that the government would take action against Mr. Tiwari.

 

When contacted on the phone, Mr. Tiwari told The Hindu: “I had applied for leave owing to some personal problems. I have not taken any leave before.” He refused to comment whether he was likely to resign.

 

Mr. Tiwari's refusal to resign leaves the government with the only option of removing him. Since the post of Information Commissioner is statutory, the government will have to initiate certain steps for his removal: it will have to send a report to the Governor and make out a case for his removal. The Governor, in turn, will send a request to the Supreme Court, which will have to conduct an inquiry. Official sources said the Governor had the powers to suspend him, pending the inquiry.

 

Departmental probe likely against Adarsh babus

 

Ketaki Ghoge, Hindustan Times

 

Departmental probe likely against Adarsh babus - Hindustan Times

 

The state government is likely to initiate in-house disciplinary action through a departmental inquiry against 21 officials under the scanner in the Adarsh housing society scam. These include 12 serving and retired bureaucrats. If found guilty, officials will face either censure, a promotion withheld, a demotion or dismissal.

 

The state is also likely to initiate proceedings to sack state information commissioner Ramanand Tiwari if he fails to tender his resignation to the governor in a day or two.

 

Sources said Tiwari, a former bureaucrat, whose son Omkar has a flat in the controversial tower, was unwilling to resign.

 

On Tuesday, he proceeded on long leave from his office.

 

“The government is likely to initiate proceedings with the governor against Tiwari if he fails to resign by Wednesday,” a senior official said. The letter to be sent to the governor is already ready, sources added.

 

The departmental inquiry for the rest of the officers will run parallel to the CBI and the judicial probe announced by the state government.

 

“The chief minister is likely to decide on the inquiry soon. He had asked the former chief secretary to put up a file, which has been done. The change of guard may delay the decision by a few days,” said a bureaucrat, on condition of anonymity.

 

The inquiry is to ascertain the truth against allegations made of misconduct, negligence of duty, lack of integrity. The officials need not be suspended until the inquiry is complete, but they are usually kept away from important postings.

 

For retired officials, the inquiry will lead to a halt in dues like pension, gratuity until the process is completed. There is no specific time limit for a departmental inquiry and the criticism made against it is that the delay subverts natural justice.

 

For serving officials, the inquiry can lead to negative annual confidential reports besides putting a permanent taint on an official even if he/she is exonerated later.

 

Officials under the scanner include former civic commissioner Jairaj Phatak, former Mumbai collectors Pradeep Vyas and IA Kundan, former BEST general manager Uttam Khobragade, IFS officer RK Das and retired bureaucrat CS Sangitrao.

 

Adarsh scam: Action against Ramanand Tiwari

 

NDTV Correspondent

 

Adarsh scam: Action against Ramanand Tiwari

 

Mumbai: After the Maharashtra Governor rejected state Information Commissioner Ramanand Tiwari's request to go on leave, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has said that there will action against the tainted former bureaucrat.

 

Ramanand Tiwari, whose son has a flat in Adarsh society, was in charge of the Urban Development Department when the building got crucial clearances.

 

Tiwari has also been accused of withholding information on the controversial housing society in Mumbai, where a number of politicians and bureaucrats own flats.

 

"Subhash Lalla and Ramanand Tiwari are retired officers. Serving officers enjoy a level of immunity. Impeachment in constitutional posts has its recourse. Lalla has resigned and I am not sure about Ramanand Tiwari. The state government will act soon. The Centre has already initiated a CBI enquiry. We have already declared there will be a judicial inquiry," said Prithviraj Chavan.

 

On January 3, another former bureaucrat Subhash Lalla resigned as a member of the State Human Rights Commission against the backdrop of his alleged link to the scam.

 

Ashok Chavan was forced to quit as Chief Minister in November last year after it was revealed that his relatives, including the late mother-in-law, owned flats in the upscale Adarsh society.

 

Adarsh: CIC Tiwari denied leave

 

Express News Service

 

Adarsh: CIC Tiwari denied leave

 

Governor K Sankaranarayanan on Wednesday rejected the plea of Chief Information Commissioner Ramanand Tiwari, who is linked to the Adarsh scam, to go on leave. Tiwari had requested the Governor to grant him leave from January 7 to March 31 after being asked by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to quit his post.

 

The state government had asked Tiwari and former principal secretary Subhash Lalla to quit after their names were linked to the Adarsh scam. Lalla, who was appointed as a member of the human rights commission, had resigned but denied any wrongdoing. Tiwari’s son Omkar and Lalla’s mother Susheela Shaligram and daughter Sumeela Sethi are members of the Adarsh Society located in upmarket Cuffe Parade.

 

Tiwari was appointed as Chief Information Commissioner after he retired as principal secretary of the Urban Development Department.

 

Guv rejects Tiwari's leave application

 

Prafulla Marpakwar, TNN, Jan 6, 2011, 06.29am IST

 

Guv rejects Tiwari's leave application - The Times of India

 

MUMBAI: Governor K Sankaranarayanan on Wednesday rejected the leave application of controversial information commissioner Ramanand Tiwari, who is allegedly involved in the multicrore Adarsh scam. The housing scam involves many politicians, bureaucrats and high-ranking military officials.

 

A week back, then chief secretary J P Dange had conveyed the government's message to Tiwari and human rights commission member Subhhash Lalla that they quit, in view of their alleged involvement in the scam, in larger public interest and on moral grounds. In fact, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan had spoken to them about their resignations. Initially, both refused, but later, Lalla submitted his resignation to the governor. Tiwari declined, claiming he was innocent and that he was prepared for a probe by an independent agency.

 

"We were expecting Tiwari to resign. Since he refused, we will make a reference to the governor on Thursday for his suspension. We will urge the governor to invoke the Right To Information (RTI) Act for Tiwari's suspension as early as possible," a senior official told TOI.

 

The official said under rule 17 (2) of the RTI Act, the chief information commissioner or information commissioner shall be suspended, during the inquiry, in respect of whom a reference has been made to the Supreme Court. "All will depend on a reference from the state government. If we receive the reference on Thursday, it will take at least three days to suspend Tiwari, since the governor will have to submit his report to the apex court. It will be bad in law to suspend the commissioner merely after receipt of a reference from the state government. The governor will have to ensure the report is physically delivered to the apex court before issuing the suspension order," he said.

 

Tiwari is among bureaucrats involved in the Adarsh scam, being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation. Chavan has assured a judicial probe under the commission of inquiry act into the fraud. The main charge against Tiwari is that as secretary of the urban development department, he favoured the housing society on crucial disputes. Tiwari's son Onkar is a society member too. When the government sought information, Tiwari said his son was a member and he had dealt with the file as secretary.

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karira

As reported by Shunbhangi Khapre in dnaindia.om on 08 January 2011:

Government sends letter to governor for Ramanand Tiwari

 

Government sends letter to governor for Ramanand Tiwari’s removal

 

The government on Friday sent a letter to governor K Sankaranarayanan seeking the removal of information commissioner Ramanand Tiwari in connection with the Adarsh Housing scam.

 

“The government has started the process of Tiwari's removal," an officer from the Mantralaya said. "As per the norms, it is mandatory for the government to recommend the sacking of Tiwari to the governor."

 

A source at Raj Bhawan said that the governor was out of town till January 11. But that is unlikely to come in the way of Tiwari's removal. The process might take some time though as the papers will be thoroughly scrutinised.

 

"We have ample proof to show that when the Adarsh housing file was being processed, Tiwari was the principle secretary of urban development," the officer said. "His role in the Adarsh cannot be discounted totally as we haven't come across any note of dissent from Tiwari on the files that paved the way for Adarsh."

 

Also, there is proof that his relative (son) was registered as a member of the Adarsh housing society, he said.

 

Another officer in the Mantralaya said that the government had already given a long rope to Tiwari to ensure his voluntary resignation. "But he did not oblige," he said. "He put the ball in the government's court by going on a long leave by sending a letter to the governor."

 

The governor, however, rejected his leave application thus clearing the decks for the government to take action against Tiwari.

 

"Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan was clear about taking action against bureaucrats whose names have come up in the housing scam," a government source said. "The government had anticipated some resistance from bureaucrats but felt if it gave in to their pressure tactics it would not send a wrong message to the people."

 

A senior cabinet minister from the Congress said the government was under pressure to act against bureaucrats because there is a general idea that politicians are pulled up but nothing happens to bureaucrats.

 

A source from the chief minister's office said that there was no question of shielding any corrupt bureaucrat. "Earlier, human rights member Subash Lalla had resigned voluntarily," he said. "The government is closely monitoring the roles of the other 12 bureaucrats serving in various posts in the state and the Centre. The two-member judicial commission will give its report within three months after which action would be taken against those found guilty.

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Sajib Nandi

hindustantimes.com reported on January 11, 2011:

 

Maha Info Commissioner under scanner, may be removed

 

Maha Info Commissioner under scanner, may be removed - Hindustan Times

 

Maharashtra government has recommended the removal of state Information Commissioner Ramanand Tiwari. The recommendation has been sent to the Governor. Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said, "We have submitted enough grounds for Tiwari's term to be discontinued. We have also recommended a Supreme Court inquiry against him," said Tiwari was in charge of the Urban Development Department when the Adarsh Housing Society got clearance.

 

He has been accused of withholding information on the controversial society in Mumbai, where a number of politicians and bureaucrats own flats, his son too, reportedly owns a flat in the building.

 

sify.com reported on January 11, 2011:

 

Maharashtra Cabinet recommends removal of Tiwari as Information Commissioner

 

Maharashtra Cabinet recommends removal of Tiwari as Information Commissioner

 

The Maharashtra Cabinet has recommended the removal of Ramanand Tiwari as the state's Information Commissioner following allegations of withholding information on the controversial Adarsh Housing Society in Mumbai.

 

According to reports, the cabinet has sent the recommendation to Governor K Sankaranarayanan in this regard.

 

Tiwari was in charge of the Urban Development Department when the Adarsh Housing Society got clearance, where his son also owns a flat.

 

Earlier on January 5, Governor Sankaranarayanan rejected Tiwari's leave application. He had submitted his leave application to the State Governor, amid a demand by the Opposition for his ouster.

 

Earlier on January 3, former IAS officer Subhash Lalla, who was secretary in the Chief Minister's Office when the Housing Society's file was being processed in the state secretariat, resigned as a member of Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission following allegations of his involvement in the scam.

 

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has claimed to have found evidence of alleged forgery and manipulation of documents on part of some army officials and bureaucrats in the scam.

 

According to reports, some of the documents seized by the investigating agency were indicative of some forgery having allegedly been committed by a few defence officials in criminal conspiracy with bureaucrats of Maharashtra Government and private individuals.

 

A decision on registering the case under provisions of IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act would be taken once a clearance came from the legal department of the CBI.

 

The Bombay High Court had on December 21 slammed the Maharashtra Government over the controversial Adarsh Housing Society scam saying it is 'a clear-cut case of manipulation' by its officers in which everybody who was supposed to clear the file was 'gifted' a flat.

 

The 31-storey Adarsh Society, originally meant for Kargil war heroes, landed in controversy after media reports said several politicians, bureaucrats and defence personnel owned flats there.

 

The CBI had on November 15 registered a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) to probe the alleged role of former and serving Army officers, with the permission of Defence Minister A K Antony. (ANI)

 

thehindu.com reported on January 11, 2011:

 

Adarsh scam: Govt. recommends Tiwari's suspension

 

The Hindu : News / National : Adarsh scam: Govt. recommends Tiwari's suspension

 

The Maharashtra government on Tuesday decided to recommend to the Governor the suspension of State Information Commissioner Ramanand Tiwari for his alleged role in the Adarsh Housing Society scam.

 

Mr. Tiwari should not attend office till the inquiry into the scam concludes, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan told reporters after a meeting of the State Cabinet chaired by him.

 

“For Tiwari to continue in office is not in the interest of the state. We have submitted enough grounds to take action against Tiwari, and the Governor will send the recommendation to the Supreme Court which will hold an inquiry and decide whether to suspend him or terminate his services,” Mr. Chavan said.

 

“IAS officers are protected by law but Tiwari and Lalla were appointed for political reasons. So, there is a specific procedure to take action against them,” he said.

 

Mr. Tiwari was under pressure from the government to quit as Information Commissioner, but he refused and instead sent across a leave application to Governor K. Sankaranarayanan, who rejected it.

 

Mr. Lalla, another retired IAS officer, had resigned as member of the State Human Rights Commission on January 3 after names of his kin figured as beneficiaries in the Adarsh Society meant for war heroes and defence personnel. Mr. Lalla was posted in the Chief Minister’s office when the scam-hit Society’s files were being processed.

 

Mr. Tiwari, headed the State’s Urban Development Department when some crucial clearances, including raise in Floor Space Index, was granted to the Adarsh Society. His son owns a flat in the 31-storey building in upmarket Colaba.

 

Mr. Chavan said action against Mr. Tiwari has been initiated under Section 17 of the RTI Act, which states that “Governor may by order remove from office the State Information Commissioner if a State Information Commissioner has acquired such financial or other interest as is likely to affect prejudicially his function as the State Information Commissioner”.

 

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar read out the text of the decision which said that the Cabinet had resolved to recommend the suspension of Mr. Tiwari.

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karira

“IAS officers are protected by law but Tiwari and Lalla were appointed for political reasons. So, there is a specific procedure to take action against them,” he said.

 

At least the CM is honest enough to admit that the appointment was for "political reasons" !

 

By the way, he has not acquired any financial interest in the Adarsh Society - it is his son who owns a flat.

 

Interesting to see what hapens now.

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