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'My neta contacts helped Adarsh get plot'

'My neta contacts helped Adarsh get plot'

Author: Shibu Thomas
Publication: The Times of India
Date: August 17, 2011
URL: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-08-17/mumbai/29895835_1_adarsh-society-dipan-merchant-mlc-kanhaiyalal-gidwani

Introduction: Ex-MLC Gidwani Names Rane In Land Allotment

Former MLC Kanhaiyalal Gidwani on Tuesday admitted that his "contacts" with top politicians and bureaucrats helped the Adarsh housing society get a plot to construct the building.

"It will not be incorrect to say that my good relations with ministers and bureaucrats, and my good offices, helped the allotment of a plot to Adarsh," said Gidwani. The judiciary commission of Justice (retired) J A Patil and P Subramanian, supposed to conduct inquiries in the Adarsh dispute, has asked him to submit information on the properties owned by him, his wife and three sons.

The former Shiv Sena and now Congress worker has also named state industries minister and former chief minister Narayan Rane for his role in getting the plot of land for Adarsh. The housing society had initially asked for more than 10,000 sq m land near Oyster and Dolphin buildings in Colaba, which came under the Coastal Regulation Zone rules. During his cross-examination by senior advocate Dipan Merchant, who is also the counsel for the commission, Gidwani said a meeting was held at then CM Rane's official bungalow on July 23, 1999. "It was decided (in the meeting) that a letter should be sent to the central government in connection with the changing of the CRZ classification," said Gidwani. Both Rane and Gidwani were then with the Sena. Days after the discussion, the state wrote to the Union government seeking reclassification of the CRZ status of the land but the Centre turned it down.

After the refusal, Adarsh asked for the land near the bus depot. "I could have helped the promoters of the Adarsh society by using my good offices and political connections," said Gidwani. "I also had good relations with some bureaucrats in Mantralaya." When asked by Merchant, Gidwani admitted that he was aware that Adarsh society had sought land to construct a residential building for serving and retired defence personnel.

Gidwani, along with his two sons, was a member of the housing society between 2001 and 2001. "I decided to become a member of the society when I was an MLC. My sons were not connected with any government organization when they became members of the proposed society," he said. Gidwani was confronted with a letter he had written to the then CM, recommending that the land should be allotted to Adarsh that was meant for military officers. "I was fully aware that the land in question should be given to defence personnel who had dedicated their services to the motherland," he said. Gidwani's cross-examination will continue on Wednesday.

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