Contradicting Ashok Chavan, the promoter of scam-tainted Adarsh Society today said the former Maharashtra Chief Minister himself had suggested increase in the number of civilians in the Society, which was essentially meant for defence personnels.
MM Wanchoo, Adarsh's promoter, today told the judicial panel conducing inquiry into the scam that he, Society's secretary RC Thakur, and former Congress MLC Kanhaiyalal Gidwani had a meeting with Ashok Chavan, then the Revenue Minister, in June 2000.
The meeting was about Adarsh's proposal seeking land in south Mumbai.
"As per Government Resolution of 1999, we knew we had to include 20 per cent civilians. If I remember correctly, it was Revenue Minister Ashok Chavan who suggested inclusion of additional 20 per cent civilian members," said Wanchoo, a retired Brigadier.
Afterwards, Society wrote a letter to the then Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and Chavan, stating that it was ready to have 40 per cent non-defence members in Adarsh.
Chavan, who had to resign after Adarsh scam came to light, had told the Commission on June 30 that there was no discussion about inclusion of civilians.
"On June 2, 2002, Gidwani and some other members of the Society came to meet me for follow-up of the proposal....There was no discussion about accommodating civilians. I do not know who made the recommendation to include civilians," he had said.
Wanchoo further said that Thakur, in 1994, mooted the idea of forming a housing society for defence officials. "I asked Thakur to look for a suitable plot, as he was heading the Defence Estates Office then which deals with land matters. Thakur found this plot, and told me that it belongs to the state government and we should try to get it for our society."
Adarsh, the 31-storey high-rise in south Mumbai, became centre of controversy following allegations that ineligible persons, including politicians, had got membership, and undue concessions were given by the state and city authorities during the construction.