Adarsh scam: Maharashtra wants information commissioner to go


Mumbai : The Maharashtra cabinet Tuesday decided to recommend the removal of State Information Commissioner (SIC) Ramanand Tiwari for his alleged involvement in the Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society scam in Mumbai.

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A proposal to initiate suitable action under Section 17 of the Right To Information (RTI) Act, 2005 has been sent to Governor K. Sankaranarayanan.

The RTI section says that the governor has powers to remove an information commissioner from his post on grounds of “misbehaviour” or “incapacity” after referring the matter to the Supreme Court.

Tiwari has been barred from attending office till a decision is taken by the governor.

“We have given our reasons on why Tiwari must not continue as the SIC to the governor,” Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan told reporters shortly after a cabinet meeting Tuesday afternoon.

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.

After his retirement, Tiwari was appointed as information commissioner.

Tiwari last week sought permission from the governor to proceed on 83-day leave from Jan 7. His leave application was rejected.

Another senior official Subhash Lalla quit earlier this week as a member of the State Human Rights Commission. He said he was resigning to avoid further embarrassment to the government or himself.

He quit after the Central Bureau of Investigation started probing the scam. The state government has also announced a judicial inquiry into the scandal.

The scam has claimed the job of former chief minister Ashok Chavan after allegations surfaced of collusion between bureaucrats and politicians to corner flats in the 31-storey building constructed on a prime plot measuring nearly 6,500 sq m in the posh Colaba area of south Mumbai.

The flats in the building were originally meant for Kargil war widows and heroes.