Maharashtra's ex CM Sushil Kumar Shinde appears before Adarsh commission

Central power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde was questioned by the two-member judicial commission probing the Adarsh housing society scam in Mumbai on Monday.

Shinde was asked questions about files relating to the allotment of flats in the controversial 31-storeyed building in Cuffe Parade when he was the chief minister between 2001 and 2003. Shinde will appear before the two-member commission again on Tuesday. The commission includes former judge J A Patil and former state chief secretary P Subhramanyam.

Two other former chief ministers, Vilasrao Deshmukh, who is now a minister in the Manmohan Singh cabinet, and Ashok Chavan, will also appear before the commission later this week. The commission was appointed by the Maharashtra government to probe the scam, which surfaced in October 2010.

The building was built ostensibly to provide flats to the widows of soldiers killed in the Kargil war. However, the state government is alleged to have allowed the promoters to allot flats to civilians as well. Several relatives of politicians, bureaucrats and even army officials are among those who were given flats in the building.

The defence ministry claims the building came up on land belonging to it, but the judicial commission, in its interim report in April, asserted that the land belonged to the state government. It also denied that the land had been reserved for building a housing complex for widows of Kargil heroes.

Though the judicial commission was supposed to have given its findings within three months, it has got several extensions. Recently, the government gave its sixth extension. However, though the commission had sought a six-month extension, the government granted it a three-month extension till 30 September.