Testifying for the second time before the two-member commission probing the Adarsh housing scam, former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan Monday blamed the then principal secretary (revenue) for not bringing details of the membership of the housing society to his notice.
Deposing before the panel, Chavan said he was not aware of the detailed conditions given in the conditional Letter of Intent and that he signed it in good faith as he was guided by the then principal secretary (revenue) D.K. Shankaran in doing so.
The former Maharashtra chief minister while admitting that he did not read the document fully, blamed his predecessor Vilasrao Deshmukh, who headed the urban development department, for the condition in the letter that talked of allotment of 40 percent flats to civilians.
Earlier, Chavan while testifying before the panel Saturday had shifted the blame on Deshmukh and other senior bureaucrats, saying that he cleared the relevant documents as senior bureaucrats had already checked them.
He added that a revenue minister is often guided by the principal secretary, who first studies all proposals.
He also passed the buck to the finance ministry stating that the chief minister has to make a reference to the finance department if a said proposal does not get a nod from the cabinet or the chief minister’s office.
The two-member judicial commission comprising former judge, Justice J.A. Patil and former state chief secretary P. Subrahmanyam, had, last week questioned another former Maharashtra chief minister and now Union Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and another former chief minister and now the Union Science and Technology Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh as a witness.
Chavan had to step down as chief minister after the scam surfaced in 2010. He was the revenue minister during Deshmukh’s first stint as Maharashtra chief minister between 1999 and 2003 during which permissions were granted for the construction of Adarsh society building.
The Adarsh scam involves a prime plot in South Mumbai’s Colaba on which a 31-storey building was constructed by the society.