A special CBI court has allowed the Adarsh Housing Society to withdraw Rs one crore from its bank accounts, after accepting as security the plot of the 31-storey building in south Mumbai, which is caught in a dispute over flat allotments and environmental clearance. Special CBI judge PK Sharma ordered for defreezing the society’s three bank accounts earlier this month, so that the applicant (the society) can use the money for maintenance of the building and the litigation cost.
The CBI had frozen these bank accounts in January 2011, after registering a case against 14 accused, including several members of the society. The plush 31-storey building, located at Colaba in south Mumbai, is embroiled in a controversy since 2011, with the centre ordering for its demolition for violating environmental norms and the Defence Ministry claiming ownership of the land where the building stands.
The CBI court accepted the bond submitted by the society, keeping the land in which the building stands as security. “The society’s secretary, Ramchandra Thakur, has filed a certified copy of survey register, showing that the land is owned by the society. This land was allotted to the society by the state of Maharashtra, on payment of Rs 12.61 crores. The security is sufficient,” the court said in its order. In March 2018, the CBI court had refused to accept the plot as security, after holding that the disputed structure stands on the same land.
The society then approached the Supreme Court, which directed the CBI court on July 31, 2018, to accept the security of the land and release money from the bank accounts. Earlier, the Bombay High Court had upheld, in April 2016, the order passed by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, to demolish the building. The society had later approached the apex court, which granted an interim stay on the demolition order in July 2016, pending final hearing of its appeal.