Mumbai: A former Union Ministry official told a judicial panel here on Monday that the Adarsh housing society has to be demolished as it does not have environmental clearance.
Former Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) director Bharat Bhushan told the two-member inquiry commission set up by the state government to probe into the scam, that the Adarsh building stands in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) and hence environmental clearance is mandatory.
"The building has not obtained any clearance from the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA). The MCZMA has not sent any recommendation to the MoEF regarding clearance to be given to Adarsh," he said.
He said that when the Adarsh scam broke in October 2010, the MoEF had asked for a report from the secretary of the department of environment who is also the chairperson of the MCZMA. The report stated that no clearance was obtained or given to the plush 31-storey Adarsh building in South Mumbai.
"The final order of January 14, 2011, passed by the MoEF for the building's demolition was based on details sent by the MCZMA chairperson, Maharashtra government, hearing of Adarsh representatives, as well as other documents," he said.
While the Adarsh Society has approached the Bombay High Court challenging the MoEF's decision to demolish the building, the Union Ministry of Defence also filed a petition seeking implementation of the MoEF order. Both petitions are pending before the high court.