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Adarsh axe lifts, officers back

Mumbai, May 20: The Maharashtra government has quietly brought back two top bureaucrats of the state who had been suspended in 2012 after allegations about their role in the Adarsh housing society scam had surfaced.

Top bureaucrats and army officers along with at least two Congress chief ministers, cabinet ministers and some BJP leaders had allegedly worked as a team to break rules and build the residential highrise, which some claim was built on a plot meant for Kargil war widows.

Maharashtra chief secretary J.S. Sahariya told The Telegraph today senior IAS officers Jairaj Phatak and Pradeep Vyas, suspended following their arrest by the CBI in connection with the case, had been reinstated. Both were brought back yesterday.

“A government employee cannot be suspended for more than two years. Phatak and Vyas were suspended on March 22, 2012. Criminal proceedings and departmental inquiries are on against them, there is no let up on any front. Their postings have not been given, though their suspension has been revoked,” Sahariya said.

There are instances of several Maharashtra government officials remaining suspended for more than two years, though sources said it is the process of reinstatement that has often stretched beyond the two-year period.

Sources in the Maharashtra government said the current Congress-NCP dispensation was keen that the officers, known to be close to several leaders, should not lose their retirement benefits and be reinstated before the next Assembly elections due in September.

The combine is expected to lose power to the BJP-Sena alliance in the coming elections.

While Phatak is due to retire in 2015, Vyas will retire in 2023. Both had been indicted by the Justice J.A. Patil committee that probed the Adarsh controversy.

As municipal commissioner of Mumbai, Phatak was responsible for clearing an additional floor for the Adarsh building without requisite sanctions in 2009. It was alleged that as quid pro quo, his son Kanishk was allotted a flat. Phatak has denied that his son was a beneficiary.