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karira

Adarsh row: Babus may be told to go

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ambrish.p

Ramanand Tiwari's suspension final: Maha CM

11 Jan 2011, 1345 hrs IST, AGENCIES

 

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Tuesday (January 11) said that the removal of Ramanand Tiwari, who is presently serving as State's Information Commissioner, will be suspended over his alleged involvement with the Adarsh Housing Society scam. The chief minister confirmed that the Maharashtra Cabinet has taken the decision to suspend 'tainted' Tiwari and a proposal of the same has been sent to the Governor.

 

The recommendation by the Cabinet was made in the wake of allegations that Tiwari’s son owns a flat in the controversial Adarsh Housing Society.

 

The state government had earlier rejected Tiwari's request to proceed on leave from January 7 till March 31.

 

Tiwari, a former IAS officer, was in charge of the Urban Development Department when the building got crucial clearances. He has also been accused of withholding information on the controversial housing society in Mumbai, where a number of politicians and bureaucrats own flats.

 

Recently, Subhash Lalla, another former bureaucrat, also resigned as a member of the State Human Rights Commission against the backdrop of his alleged links to the scam.

 

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

 

Source: Ramanand Tiwari's suspension final: Maha CM- TIMESNOW.tv - Latest Breaking News, Big News Stories, News Videos

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ambrish.p

Maharashtra cabinet recommends Ramanand Tiwari's suspension over Adarsh scam

 

Published: Tuesday, Jan 11, 2011, 13:38 IST | Updated: Tuesday, Jan 11, 2011, 14:33 IST

Place: Mumbai | Agency: PTI

 

 

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.

 

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," 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.

 

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.

 

Lalla, another retired IAS officer, had resigned as member of the State Human Rights Commission on January 3 after the names of his kin figured as beneficiaries in the Adarsh Society meant for war heroes and defence personnel.

 

Lalla was posted in the chief minister's office when the scam-hit Society's files were being processed.

 

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 too owns a flat in the 31-storey building in upmarket Colaba.

 

Chavan said action against Tiwari has been initiated under Section 17 of the RTI Act, which states that "the 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 Tiwari.

 

Source: Maharashtra cabinet recommends Ramanand Tiwari's suspension over Adarsh scam - Mumbai - DNA

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Atul Patankar

The news items do not mention weather the 'suspension' is under section 17(1) or 17(3). From the process described by chief minister, it seems it is section 17(1). So the procedure is likely to take more than one year, while Mr. Tiwari will enjoy the status of an IC.

 

Chief Ministers has expressed his opinion that "For Tiwari to continue in office is not in the interest of the state. " However, I am sure this is not binding upon Mr. Tiwari, and he may choose to attend office and hear appeals.

 

I believe the government is more interested in looking to be taking strict action, than actually taking any action.

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

 

I believe the CM was misquoted - what he meant was that the IAS officer was now holding a constitutional post, and was no more an employee of the state govt.

 

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

 

But the second appeals regarding permissions etc will be heard by him. Also, second appeals regarding asset declaration by Mr Tiwari while he was in service are pending before Mr Tiwari himself!

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karira

This is very very funny !

 

The Governor himself does not know what are his powers in this case.

 

A few months ago he wrote to the Government asking for details of the action that can be taken against information commissioners.....but did not get any reply.

 

Please read: http://www.rtiindia.org/forum/59344-maharashtra-stuck-red-tape-governor-too.html

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ambrish.p

As reported in Dainik Jagran on 12/01/11

 

महाराष्ट्र सूचना आयुक्त की विदाई तय

 

ठ्ठ जागरण संवाददाता, मुंबई महाराष्ट्र सरकार ने आदर्श हाउसिंग सोसाइटी घोटाले में कथित भूमिका को लेकर राज्य के सूचना आयुक्त रामानंद तिवारी के निलंबन की सिफारिश कर दी है। राज्यपाल के. शंकरनारायणन के पास भेजी सिफारिश में राज्य सरकार ने कहा है कि तिवारी का अपने पद पर बने रहना राज्य के हित में नहीं है। मुख्यमंत्री पृथ्वीराज चह्वाण द्वारा मंगलवार को यहां बुलाई गई राज्य कैबिनेट की बैठक में यह फैसला किया गया। कैबिनेट की बैठक के बाद चह्वाण ने कहा, घोटाले की जांच पूरी होने तक तिवारी को दफ्तर नहीं आना चाहिए। तिवारी के खिलाफ कार्रवाई के लिए पर्याप्त आधार हैं। राज्य सरकार की सिफारिश को राज्यपाल सुप्रीम कोर्ट के पास भेजेंगे जो यह फैसला करेगा कि तिवारी को निलंबित किया जाए या उनकी सेवाएं खत्म कर दी जाएं। चह्वाण ने बताया कि सूचना आयुक्त के खिलाफ कार्रवाई की विशेष प्रक्रिया है। कारगिल शहीदों के नाम पर बनी आदर्श सोसाइटी को लेकर सेवानिवृत्त आइएएस अफसर तिवारी के विवादों में घिरने के बाद राज्य सरकार ने उनसे पद छोड़ने को कहा था लेकिन उन्होंने ऐसा करने से इंकार कर दिया था। तिवारी ने इसकी जगह राज्यपाल के पास छुट्टी का आवेदन भेज दिया था, जो खारिज कर दिया गया था। तिवारी पर आरोप है कि जब वह राज्य के नगर विकास विभाग के प्रमुख थे, उसी दौरान पॉश कोलाबा इलाके में नियमों को ताक पर रखकर आदर्श सोसाइटी की 31 मंजिली इमारत खड़ी करने की इजाजत दी गई। इसके एवज में उन्हें भी सोसाइटी में एक फ्लैट मिला जो उनके बेटे के नाम है।

 

Source: http://in.jagran.yahoo.com/epaper/article/index.php?page=article&choice=print_article&location=49&category=&articleid=1116999537106927908

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karira

As reported by Ravikiran Deshmukh in mumbaimirror.com on 14 January 2011:

CM, governor seek blueprint to deal with corruption, News - City - Mumbai Mirror

 

CM, governor seek blueprint to deal with corruption

 

Permanent solution to ease out troublesome bureaucrats on the cards after Ramanand Tiwari refuses to step down

 

On Thursday evening, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Governor K Shankarnarayanan discussed the Ramanand Tiwari problem and a permanent solution to deal with controversial bureaucrats.

 

Information Commissioner Tiwari has the State in a fix, after the latter recommended his dismissal from service over his alleged involvement in the Adarsh Housing Society scam.

 

The bureaucrat is in no mood to go out without a fight. In his meeting with Chief Secretary Ratnakar Gaikwad last week, Tiwari not only refused to quit saying he was innocent till proved guilty, he suggested any attempts to sack him could lead to legal action.

 

Tiwari knows the rulebook well. To dismiss him, the State has to invoke provisions under Section 17 of the RTI Act 2005, which is a lengthy and complicated process.

 

First, the State Cabinet has to recommend action against him to the Governor, who in turn will forward it to Supreme Court.

 

The apex court needs to appoint a judge who will hear the State and the bureaucrat.

 

Alarmed by Tiwari’s stance, Gaikwad and senior officials from Law & Judiciary Department approached Chavan.

 

It was decided that a Cabinet resolution be passed since it becomes binding on Governor to initiate process against the information commissioner.

 

The State wants a permanent procedure to deal with complaints against information commissioner.

 

According to a source in the Law & Judiciary Department, the State can frame rules under Section 27 (2) of the RTI Act, following which a policy decision can be implemented.

 

If the State does go ahead, Maharashtra will be the first State in the country to frame rules under the Act.

 

The official said, “The Government has received a number of complaints against information commissioners, but in the absence of any specific action mechanism, no action could be taken.”

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karira

As reported in hindustantimes.com on 14 January 2011:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Need-way-to-tackle-erring-info-chiefs/Article1-650148.aspx

 

‘Need way to tackle erring info chiefs’

 

Governor K Sankaranarayanan has asked chief minister Prithviraj Chavan to set up an administrative mechanism to address grievances of the citizens against Right to Information commissioners. In a consultative meeting with Chavan on Thursday, the governor raised the issue of complaints received by his office against the state’s chief information commissioner and other information commissioners over issues ranging from biased judgements and illegal orders to pendency of appeals.

 

A Raj Bhavan official, requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media, said citizens expect relief from the governor because he is the appointing authority, but the governor gets his powers from the council of ministers. “The question is can the governor intervene in the issue independently or does he forward the complaints to the state government. How does the state plan to address them?” he asked.

 

The state government will seek the opinion of the advocate general and look at how the Centre and other states deal with this issue to set up a redressal mechanism.

 

“It’s a ticklish issue. The information commissioner’s is a constitutional post. They [information commissioners] are vested with great powers to ensure independent functioning,’’ said a state official, who was present at the meeting, requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media.

 

However, RTI activists are of the opinion that the governor has sufficient powers to take action.

 

“The RTI Act has given ample powers to the governor to take action after receiving complaints, by initiating an inquiry or forwarding it to the apex court. Instead, what’s happening is that the governor is forwarding complaints to the government, which is sitting on the issue,’’ RTI activist, GR Vora, said, calling it a “classic case of shirking responsibility”.

 

The governor had asked the state to clarify on this issue six months ago after his office received 96 complaints and representations against information commissioners.

 

The governor got no reply from then chief secretary JP Dange.

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karira

As reported by Clara Lewis in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 14 January 2011:

Tiwari continues to attend office - The Times of India

 

Tiwari continues to attend office

 

MUMBAI: Maharashtra's information commissioner Ramanand Tiwari attended office despite a cabinet recommendation to governor K Sankaranarayanan that he should not be allowed to do so till completion of the Supreme Court's inquiry.

 

The state cabinet had sanctioned an inquiry against Tiwari under Section 17(1) of the Right to Information Act, 2005, as during his tenure as urban development secretary, he allegedly favoured the controversial Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society in Colaba, of which his son is a member.

 

The section mentions that the state chief information commissioner or the state information commissioner "can be removed from office only by an order from the governor on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity".

 

The governor has to first initiate an inquiry by the SC and then base his decision on the apex court's report.

 

The governor can suspend or prohibit the information commissioner from attending office during the probe, according to Section 17 (2) of the act.

 

The information commissioner's office is on the 14th floor of the new administrative building across the road from the state secretariat.

 

Tiwari said on Thursday he had read about the cabinet's recommendation to the governor only in newspapers. "I have not received any communication from the government,'' he said, adding that he had made inquiries with his office but as there was no communication, he said he would continue to attend office.

 

He added, "I will come to the media with my side of the story, but for now I do not wish to discuss the issue.''

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Atul Patankar

What a win-win situation: CM gets his 'tough man' image. Tiwari proves that no one can touch him. May be gets time to move the wheels. Governor's office plays innocent bystander. Media gets to break news every few hours, and gets great footage of Ms. Tiwari throwing chappals at cameramen.

 

It seems we are the only loosers, and we don't matter.

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karira

It seems we are the only loosers, and we don't matter.

 

Didn't I say before ...... nothing will ever happen in this case.

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karira

As reported in hindustantimes.com on 16 January 2011:

ADARSH SCAM: info chief to meet governor - Hindustan Times

 

ADARSH SCAM: info chief to meet governor

 

Right to Information commissioner, Ramanand Tiwari (above), whose removal has been recommended by the state government on grounds of misconduct in the Adarsh Housing society scam will meet the governor K Sankarnarayan on Sunday. “The governor has granted an appointment to Tiwari,’’ said a spokesperson for Raj Bhavan. Tiwari, a retired IAS officer, who was the urban development department secretary in the state secretariat when the controversial Adarsh society files were approved will meet the Governor at 4 pm.

 

Tiwari, defiant despite state government recommendations has continued to attend office as state information commissioner. He said he has so far not got any intimation from the government asking him not to report for work.

 

He is likely to present his defence and refute charges of misconduct in the scam before the governor.

 

The governor is yet to take action on the state cabinet’s recommendation to suspend Tiwari. After suspension, the governor will make a reference to the Supreme Court for initiating inquiry into Tiwari’s role in Adarsh.

 

The government had asked Tiwari to resign on moral grounds. After he refused, the state prepared a dossier seeking his removal on grounds of misconduct as UDD secretary and RTI commissioner, under section 17 of the RTI Act. It had got cabinet approval this week.

 

The cabinet also said Tiwari must be barred from entering his office till a final decision in the inquiry is taken. Tiwari’s son, Omkar, has a flat in the controversial tower. The state has pointed out that Tiwari has funded three fourths of the cost of this flat worth Rs 70 lakh.

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Atul Patankar

As reported at ndtv.com on January 16, 2011

 

Adarsh scam: I will not quit, says Ramanand Tiwari

 

Mumbai: Maharastra Information Commissioner Ramanand Tiwari, who is one of the tainted former bureaucrats in the Adarsh housing society scam, met the Maharashtra Governor today and said he will not quit.

 

"I will challenge the appeal for my suspension in by the state government...today I have met the Governor and presented my side of the story. I am not going to step down. I have told the Governor about my case," Tiwari said.

 

"I do accept that during my tenure in the UDD a lot of files came to me for clearances and I cleared them. The decision to clear land reservation and land transfers is a decision taken by the state and not by me. I have not given any environmental clearance as my department has nothing to do with the environmental clearance. Just because my son has got a flat that does not mean I have cleared the file to get him a flat. I am not under any pressure by the state to resign. I had applied for leave but my leave was not granted," he added.

 

The Governor can now recommend the former bureaucrat's removal to the Supreme Court.

 

The apex court will then conduct an inquiry, pending which, Tiwari can be suspended.

 

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

 

Subhash Lalla, another retired IAS officer, had resigned as member of the State Human Rights Commission on January 3 after the names of his kin figured as beneficiaries in the Adarsh Society meant for war heroes and defence personnel.

 

Lalla was posted in the Chief Minister's office when the scam-hit Society's files were being processed.

 

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 too owns a flat in the 31-storey building in upmarket Colaba.

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Atul Patankar

As reported at news.in.msn.com on 16 January 2010

 

Mumbai, Jan 16 (IANS) Claiming innocence in the Adarsh Housing Society scam, Maharashtra Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) Ramanand Tiwari Sunday said that he has not been asked to resign during his meeting with governor K. Sankaranarayan here.

 

'I have met the governor and he has given me a patient hearing. I have told him my side of the story and that I am open to inquiry,' Tiwari said.

 

Tiwari denied that he was the main culprit in the Adarsh scam, saying that he will challenge his suspension by the state government.

 

Tiwari, who headed Maharashtra's urban development department (UDD), said that the Adarsh file had not come to him for clearance.

 

'I did clear a lot of files during my tenure at the urban development department, but the decision to clear the land reservations and land transfers were taken by the state government and not by me,' he told reporters.

 

The Maharashtra cabinet had Jan 11 decided to recommend the removal of Tiwari for his alleged involvement in the Adarsh society scam.

 

A proposal to initiate suitable action under Section 17 of the Right To Information (RTI) Act was sent to the governor.

 

Among other things, Tiwari, a former Indian Administrative Service official who now holds a constitutional post, has been accused of withholding crucial information on the Adarsh society, in which several politicians and bureaucrats are members.

 

When the building got government clearance, Tiwari was the in-charge of the urban development department. His son Omkar also owns a flat in the society.

 

It was during Tiwari's tenure in the department that the Adarsh society's land allotment file was cleared.

 

Tiwari was appointed information commissioner after his retirement.

 

Tiwari recently sought permission from the governor to proceed on 83-days leave from Jan 7. His leave application was rejected.

 

On Jan 3, former bureaucrat Subhash Lalla resigned as a member of Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission for his alleged connection with the scam.

 

Ashok Chavan was forced to quit as chief minister in November last year after it was revealed that his relatives owned flats in Adarsh society.

 

The environment ministry Sunday ordered that the scam-hit housing society building be demolished within three months for Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) violations.

 

The ministry, in its 29-page order, concluded that the 31-storey structure built at Block 6, Backbay Reclamation Area in Mumbai's upscale Colaba area, is 'unauthorised' and should be removed in its entirety and the area be restored to its original condition.

 

The society, however, said it would challenge the order in court.

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Atul Patankar

Based on Marathi news at IBN-Lokmat on 16 January 2011

 

Neither have I resigned, nor has the Governor asked me to - Ramanand Tiwari

 

Speaking to media persons after his meeting with the governor, Mr. Ramanand Tiwari, the Adarsha tainted State Information Commissioner said the Governor has not asked him to resign. He said though he cleared the files related to Adarsh Society, he was not alone to do so. The file came through many steps in the government machinery, and after he cleared it, it went to the CM's office. The decisions he took were taken not in his personal capacity, but as representative of the State government, he added.

 

This is seen as once again putting the ball in the CM's office's court.

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karira

As reported in ibnlive.in.com on 18 January 2011:

Adarsh scam: Maha info chief's case sent to SC - India News - IBNLive

 

Adarsh scam: Maha info chief's case sent to SC

 

Mumbai: Maharashtra Governor K Shankarnarayanan has referred the case of state Information Commissioner Ramanand Tiwari, whose name came up in the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society scam, for removal to the Supreme Court. The Governor referred the case to the Supreme Court on Tuesday under Section 17(1) of Right to Information Act.

 

Tiwari, a former IAS officer, was asked to resign by Maharashtra government following allegations of his involvement in Adarsh housing society scam.

 

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had initiated removal procedures against Tiwari.

 

The Maharashtra Governor also sent the proposal to suspend Tiwari back to the state government on Tuesday on the grounds that it should seek advice from the judiciary and redraft the proposal.

 

Tiwari, whose son Omkar Tiwari has a flat in Adarsh society, reportedly withheld information on the controversial housing society. He was the secretary of Maharashtra Urban Development Department from 2000 to 2009 and is alleged to have played key role in his son's membership with Adarsh Society.

 

Earlier, Tiwari had applied for a long leave of three months starting from January 7. But the leave application was rejected by the Governor.

 

What is Section 17(1) of Right to Information Act:

 

Section 17(1) of RTI Act deals with the removal of state chief information commissioner or state information commissioner. The section says that 1) subject to the provisions of sub-section (3), the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner shall be removed from his office only by order of the Governor on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity after the Supreme Court, on a reference made to it by the Governor, has on inquiry, reported that the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner, as the case may be, ought on such ground be removed.

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karira

As reported by PTI in thehindu.com on 18 January 2011:

The Hindu : States / Other States : Maharashtra Governor makes reference to Supreme Court for Tiwari’s suspension

 

Maharashtra Governor makes reference to Supreme Court for Tiwari’s suspension

 

Bringing a defiant Ramanand Tiwari’s suspension a step closer, Maharashtra Governor K. Sankaranarayanan on Tuesday made a reference to the Supreme Court on the former bureaucrat’s suspension.

 

“The Governor has made a reference to the Supreme Court on Mr. Tiwari under Section 17.1 of the RTI Act,” a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said.

 

With this development, the process to suspend Mr. Tiwari has been speeded up and it is a matter of days when the process would be completed, a senior Mantralaya official said.

 

Mr. Tiwari has defied the state government, saying he will not quit as Information Commissioner and will challenge the recommendation to the Governor to suspend him following his alleged involvement in the Adarsh housing scam.

 

“I am not quitting but will challenge the suspension process,” Mr. Tiwari had said after a 10-minute meeting with Mr. Sankaranarayanan at Raj Bhavan on Sunday.

 

Alleging “misconduct” by Mr. Tiwari in the Adarsh scam, the State Cabinet had on January 11 recommended his suspension to the Governor.

 

“I continue to attend office as I have not got any communication from the state government asking me not to attend office,” Mr. Tiwari, a retired IAS officer, whose son owns a flat in Adarsh society, told PTI recently.

 

The government had asked Mr. Tiwari to quit the post on moral grounds but he defiantly rejected the suggestion and instead applied for a three-month leave, which was turned down by Governor.

 

The cabinet recommended to the Governor to refer to the Supreme Court the matter of misconduct by Mr. Tiwari, under section 17 of the Right to Information Act. It also suggested that Mr. Tiwari be suspended from the post and barred from remaining present in office till the inquiry is on.

 

“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.

 

Another retired IAS officer Subhash Lalla resigned as member of the State Human Rights Commission earlier this month in the backdrop of his alleged involvement in the scam.

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karira

As reported in news.outlookindia.com on 20 January 2011:

news.outlookindia.com | Adarsh: Maha Info Chief Ramanand Tiwari Suspended

 

Adarsh: Maha Info Chief Ramanand Tiwari Suspended

 

A defiant Ramanand Tiwari who refused to resign as state Information Commissioner for his alleged role in the Adarsh Housing scam, was today suspended with immediate effect by Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan.

 

"The Governor has suspended Tiwari with immediate effect, using powers under Section 17.2 of the RTI Act," a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said.

 

Under this section, Governor may suspend from office, and if deem necessary prohibit also from attending the office during inquiry, the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner in respect of whom a reference has been made to the Supreme Court.

 

The development comes two days after the Governor had made a reference to the Supreme Court for removal of the former bureaucrat.

 

However, Tiwari continued to defy the government, saying he will not quit as Information Commissioner and will challenge the state cabinet's recommendation to the Governor to suspend him.

 

On Sunday, after a 10-minute meeting with Sankaranarayanan at Raj Bhavan, Tiwari had said he would not resign but will challenge the suspension process.

 

Alleging `misconduct' by Tiwari in the Adarsh scam, the state cabinet had on January 11 recommended his suspension to the Governor.

 

The government had asked Tiwari to quit the post on moral grounds but he rejected the suggestion and instead applied for a three-month leave, which was turned down by the Governor.

 

The Cabinet recommended to the Governor to refer to the Supreme Court the matter of misconduct by Tiwari, under section 17 of the Right to Information Act. It also suggested that Tiwari be suspended from the post and barred from remaining present in office till the inquiry is on.

 

"For Tiwari to continue in office is not in the interest of the state. We have submitted enough grounds to take action against Tiwari," Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said.

 

Another retired IAS officer Subhash Lalla resigned as member of the State Human Rights Commission earlier this month against the backdrop of his alleged involvement in the scam.

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Sajib Nandi

As reported by indianexpress.com on January 21, 2011:

 

Adarsh: Info commissioner Tiwari suspended

 

Adarsh: Info commissioner Tiwari suspended

 

Governor K Sankaranarayanan on Thursday suspended controversial former bureaucrat Ramanand Tiwari as the State Information Commissioner for Greater Mumbai. Tiwari’s name had surfaced as an alleged beneficiary in the Adarsh housing society scam.The order will come into force with immediate effect. “The Governor has suspended Tiwari using powers under Section 17.2 of the RTI Act,” a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said.

 

As reported by business-standard.com on January 21, 2011:

 

Maharashtra governor suspends Ramanand Tiwari

 

Maharashtra governor suspends Ramanand Tiwari

 

Invoking the powers conferred upon him under Section 17 (2) of the Right to Information Act, 2005, Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan today suspended State Information Commissioner for Greater Mumbai Ramanand Tiwari with immediate effect.

 

Tiwari’s name came up in the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society scam. The order passed by the Governor has prohibited Tiwari from attending office, pending conclusion of the inquiry or until further orders to be passed in the matter.

 

The order says the Governor, having carefully examined the entire material placed before him, is satisfied there was a “prima facie case” of misbehaviour and misconduct made out against Tiwari, and accordingly made reference to the Supreme Court for inquiry as to whether Tiwari be removed from the office of State Information Commissioner under Section 17(1) of the RTI Act.

 

In a 4-page order, the Governor said he was satisfied that there were serious charges/allegations made out in the reference to the Supreme Court against Tiwari, particularly with regard to his alleged role in the Adarsh Housing Society Scam.

 

Tiwari, a former IAS officer, was asked to resign by the Maharashtra government following his alleged involvement in scam. Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had initiated removal procedures. However, Tiwari, who met the Governor on Sunday to plead his case, did not step down and hinted he would challenge the state government’s move in a court of law.

 

Tiwari’s son, Omkar Tiwari, has a flat in Adarsh. He reportedly withheld information on the controversial housing society. He was secretary of the urban development department from 2000 to 2009 and is alleged to have played a key role in his son’s membership with the society. Earlier, Tiwari had applied for a three-month leave starting January 7. The application was rejected by the Governor.

 

The order says, the Governor of Maharashtra “after considering the seriousness and the gravity of the charges against Tiwari is of the view that to protect the sanctity of the high office of the Information Commissioner as well as to protect public trust on the institution, it is desirable that Tiwari should not be allowed to function as the State Information Commissioner during the pendency of inquiry.”

 

As reported by ibnlive.in.com on January 20, 2011:

 

Ramanand Tiwari suspended over Adarsh scam - India News - IBNLive

 

Ramanand Tiwari suspended over Adarsh scam

 

Mumbai: The Maharashtra Governor on Thursday suspended state Information Commissioner Ramanand Tiwari over alleged involvement in the adarsh society scam.

Tiwari so far has been refusing to quit despite being asked to do so by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.

 

The government had asked Tiwari to quit the post on moral grounds but he rejected the suggestion and instead applied for a three-month leave, which was turned down by the Governor

 

Tiwari was the urban development secretary when the controversial adarsh society was given the go-ahead.

 

Tiwari has all along said he is innocent.

 

The development came two days after the Governor had made a reference to the Supreme Court for removal of the former bureaucrat.

 

Earlier this month, the state cabinet requested Governor K Shankarnarayan to recommend Tiwari's removal to the Supreme Court for misconduct.

(With inputs from PTI)

 

As reported by hindustantimes.com on January 21, 2011:

 

State information chief suspended - Hindustan Times

 

State information chief suspended

 

Governor K Sankaranarayanan, on Thursday, suspended state information commissioner Ramanand Tiwari with immediate effect 'to protect the sanctity of the office of information commissioner and to protect public trust in the institution'. Tiwari, a former Indian Administration Services officer, was accused of playing a role in the Adarsh scam during his tenure as urban development secretary. The urban development department had reduced an adjoining road and changed the reservation for the road as well as a BEST bus depot to make more area available for Adarsh to build on.

On January 11, the state cabinet requested the governor to take action against Tiwari who had refused to resign as state information commissioner despite a request by the government. Following this, the governor had, on January 16, made a reference to the Supreme Court for inquiry as to whether Tiwari be removed from office.

 

On Thursday, the governor invoked the power conferred upon him under Section 17 (2) of the Right to Information Act 2005, to suspend Tiwari with immediate effect. The suspension will remain till the conclusion of the inquiry or until further orders, said a communiqué by the Raj Bhavan. The governor has also prohibited Tiwari from attending office.

 

In a four-page signed order, the governor noted that he was satisfied that there were serious charges/allegations made out against him in the reference to the Supreme Court made under Section 17(1) of the RTI Act, particularly with regard to his alleged role in the Adarsh housing society scam.

 

The order says, the governor "after considering the seriousness and gravity of charges against Tiwari, is of the view that to protect the sanctity of the high office of information commissioner as well as to protect public trust in the institution, it is desirable that Shri Tiwari not be allowed to function as state information commissioner while the inquiry is pending."

 

The governor having carefully examined the material before him is satisfied that there is a "prima facie case" of misbehaviour and misconduct made out against Tiwari, and accordingly made a reference to the Supreme Court for inquiry as to whether Tiwari be removed from the office of state information commissioner.

 

The governor passed the order after ensuring that the reference made by him to the Supreme Court was received in the court on January 19.

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Atul Patankar

As reported at deccanherald.com on January 30, 2011

 

The CBI on Sunday conducted raids on the residential and office premises of three chief promoters of the controversial Adarsh Housing Society across Maharashtra and they also raided the home of suspended State Information Commissioner Ramanand Tiwari.

 

The CBI raids come a day after the agency filed an FIR against 13 persons including seven serving and retired state bureaucrats in the Adarsh scam.

 

The sleuths raided the premises of the Society’s chief promoter and former Defence Estates officer R C Thakur, the Society president Brigadier (retd) M M Wangchu and the former Congress legislator and one of the main players of the Society Kanhaiyalal Gidwani, who used his political contacts to get the Society file cleared by the state government.

 

Across cities

 

The raids were conducted across Mumbai, Thane, Pune and Nagpur, the CBI sources here said, claiming that incriminiating documents, including files, laptops and even computer hard discs were seized.

 

While Gidwani's two flats and his office in Mumbai were searched, Thakur's two houses, one in Thane and another in Nagpur were raided. Wangchu's house in Pune was raided. Thakur's ancestral house at Madhuban in Bihar too was searched.

 

Late in the evening, a CBI team reached the house of Tiwari, who was the principal Urban Development secretary when the Adarsh file was cleared by his department, and began searches.

 

Tiwari was recently suspended by the governor from his high office and a reference has been made to the Supreme Court for his removal under the Right to Information Act (RTI) 2005.

 

He has been named in the FIR as being instrumental in reducing witdth of an adjacent road and increasing FSI (floor space index) of the Adarsh Society building.

 

The raids were also conducted at the Adarsh Society office in Colaba in south Mumbai.

“Searches are being conducted at Thakur’s residences in Bihar, Nagpur and Thane, Wangchu's house in Pune and Gidwani's house in Mumbai. Searches are also being conducted at the office of Adarsh society,” a senior CBI official said earlier in the day.

 

Questioned

 

Gidwani, who owns three flats in the Adarsh building (one in his name and two in the name of his sons) was also questioned by the CBI officials, it is learnt.

 

These three individuals have been named as the main conspirators in the FIR filed by the CBI in the sessions court on Saturday.

 

Although the FIR contents have not been made public, it is learnt that the CBI has charged Thakur, who was a sub-divisional officer with Defence Estates Office, with playing a major role in identifying the plot and facilitating the state government's claim on it.

 

Gidwani helped use the Kargil rhetoric to push for clearances with the state government and change land rules to favour Adarsh. Brigadier (retired) M M Wanchu was instrumental in mooting the idea of the controversial housing society, sources said.

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karira

As reported in daily.bhaskar.com on 19 June 2011:

http://daily.bhaskar.com/article/MAH-PUN-adarsh-society-scam-important-documents-with-pune-rti-activist-2201200.html?D3-PUN=

 

Adarsh Society scam: Important documents with Pune RTI activist

 

Pune: Some vital documents relating to the Adarsh Co-op Housing Society scam such as the February 2000 proposal and an April 2000 affidavit by the society's chief promoter that "all members of the society are members of Defence Services (serving and retired)" are available with a Pune-based Right to Information (RTI) activist, who has been pursuing the case for several years now.

 

The RTI activist, GG Borkar, who is a lawyer by profession, has suggested the possibility that the large number of documents in his possession could include some of the papers that have gone missing from government files.

 

Copies of documents in Borkar's possession include the crucial March 15, 2003 letter by the then deputy secretary of state urban development department (UDD), PV Deshmukh, to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) granting development permission to Adarsh Society on land deleted from the 60.97 metres width of the Captain Prakash Pethe Marg.

 

Deshmukh is among those who was allotted a flat in Adarsh society and is an accused in the scam.

Another vital document available is a letter dated February 7, 2000, by the proposed Adarsh Co-op Housing Society to the then Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and the then revenue minister Ashok Chavan, seeking land for the society.

 

This letter stated that while the original proposal for allotment of 10,000 sq metres of land adjacent to 'Oyster' and 'Dolphin' buildings, under CS No. 4/600 has been objected to by the Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) as it falls under Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ)-1, an alternate proposal for allotment of 3,854 sq. metres of land out of Block VI of Backbay Reclamation Scheme may be considered.

 

It is this February 2000 proposal that was accepted by the government that subsequently surfaced as a scam ten years later.

 

As widely reported by various news agencies including DNA on November 30, 2010 (Adarsh society scam: Crucial papers regarding CRZ go missing), "papers regarding the CRZ norms and papers regarding the proposals to convert the Captain Prakash Pethe Marg, situated outside Adarsh society, into a residential premises have gone missing from inside the files."

 

One of the documents secured by Borkar under the RTI Act, 2005, includes a copy of Deshmukh's letter No. TPB 2099/1095/CR-154/99/UD-12 dated March 15, 2003 granting development permission on land deleted from the Capt. Prakash Pethe Marg to give more FSI to the Adarsh Society. Deshmukh's letter cites the relevant government notification of April 10, 2002, and states that the width of the PP Marg was modified to 18.440 metres from 60.97 metres and the area so deleted was included partly in residential zone, parade ground, helipad and BEST depot.

 

It further notes that the MoEF "has communicated its no objection to allow the said residential development since it falls within the CRZ-II…and there appears therefore, no objection to allow the residential development to the Adarsh (sic) Co-op Housing Society on the land included in the residential zone…"

 

An advocate by profession, Borkar began gathering documents relating to the Adarsh scam well before it broke out last year.

 

"I was gathering information on multiple properties owned by bureaucrats in Maharashtra since 2003 and it is in that connection that I began pursuing the Adarsh scam," Borkar, who, also runs an NGO called the Shirur Taluka Janheet Pratisthan, told DNA.

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karira

As reported by Prafulla Marpakwar in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 25 Oct 2011:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/10482462.cms

 

So far, state has spent 1.2 crore on inquiry

 

 

MUMBAI: The cash-starved Congress-NCP government has so far spent Rs 1.2 crore on the judicial Commission of Inquiry since its inception early this year to probe the Adarsh Housing Society scam. By setting up the judicial inquiry, the state government was able to deflect some amount of criticism after the scam broke, but it's costing the exchequer crores in taxpayer money.

 

"So far we have spent Rs 1.2 crore on the commission . It includes the total cost of the inquiry commission up to October 24, 2011, fees paid to the commission's counsel, and fees for lawyers representing the state government before the commission," a senior official said. Responding to an application filed under the Right to Information Act (RTI), commission secretary N N Kumbhar confirmed that between January 8 and August 31, 2011 the commission incurred an expenditure of Rs 52.9 lakh on staff salary alone.

 

Monthly operations cost the exchequer another Rs 1.04 lakh and then there are lawyers' fees-between January 8 and August 31,the government has paid Rs 35.2 lakh as fees for the commission's senior counsel Dipan Merchant, and Rs 4.4 lakh on junior counsel Bharat Zaveri. Merchant's daily fee is Rs 40,000; the junior counsel is paid Rs 5,000 a day.

 

The legal team representing the state government also command a princely salary. Senior advocate A Y Sakhare, who represents the state government , is paid Rs 1.15 lakh per day, while his juniors-R M Vasudev and U B Nigot-earn Rs 25,000 daily . If there is no hearing, then Sakhare is paid a retainer fee of Rs 55,000 a day; for chamber meetings to discuss the case, he commands Rs 7,000. Justice J A Patil and P Subramanyam are paid Rs 1.6 lakh each, per month.

 

Given the mountain of paperwork, the government has run up a bill of Rs 1.09 on photocopying expenses. Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan had set up the commission on January 7, 2011 under the Commission of Inquiry Act. It is headed by Justice J A Patil, a former judge of the Bombay high court, and former chief secretary P Subramanyam, as a member . The commission, however , initiated proceedings only on April 18, 2011 after most of the affidavits were filed. With the judicial commission nowhere near the finishing line, the government is bracing itself for another costly year.

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Atul Patankar

As reported at ibnlive.com on Apr 03, 2012

 

[h=1]Adarsh scam: Two senior government officials arrested[/h]Mumbai: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday arrested two senior government officials in connection with the Adarsh housing society scam.

The two top bureaucrats – senior IAS officer Jairaj Phatak and Maharashtra's former information commissioner Ramanand Tiwari – were earlier detained for questioning by the investigating agency.

Phatak is among the two serving IAS officers who were suspended for their alleged involvement in the Adarsh Housing Society scam. In its status report submitted to the Bombay High Court, the Maharashtra government said Phatak and another IAS officer Pradeep Vyas would be under suspension till completion of the investigations.

adarsh12.jpg

The CBI had alleged in its FIR filed on January 29 that Jairaj Phatak, during his tenure as BMC commissioner, had approved the height of the building to be increased from 97 metres to 107 metres on September 1, 2007.

The seven other accused who were arrested earlier are Pradeep Vyas, a suspended bureaucrat in Maharashtra government; Major General (Retd) TK Kaul; Major General (Retd) AR Kumar; Brigadier (Retd) MM Wanchoo; RC Thakur, a retired defence estates officer, PV Deshmukh, a former Deputy Secretary in the Urban Department and KL Gidwani, a promoter of Adarsh Housing Society.

Meanwhile, the judicial custody granted to the seven arrested has been extended till April 17.

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