Devyani Khobragade among illegal beneficiaries, says Adarsh probe panel report

Devyani Khobragade among illegal beneficiaries, says Adarsh probe panel report

FILE photo: Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade

Mumbai:  Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, who was arrested in the US for alleged visa fraud, is among 25 illegal beneficiaries in the Adarsh Housing Society in Mumbai, a judicial commission has said in its report.

The diplomat's father, Uttarm Khobragade, on Saturday defended her, also pointing out that the flat was not allotted to them by any politician.

"The building is ready, there is one flat empty. Is it wrong to buy it? When we were offered, we were interested and we bought the flat. No politician allotted us any flat," he said.

According to the panel report, the diplomat, in her deposition to the two-member panel, falsely stated that she bought a flat in Jogeshwari, a western suburb in Mumbai, in 2005 instead of 2004 when she applied for a membership in the Adarsh society. It says that Ms Khobragade was still a member of the Meera Cooperative Housing Society in Jogeshwari at the time her membership to the Adarsh society was approved.

This is in clear violation of state government rules which requires an official applying for a flat in a cooperative housing society to submit a signed affidavit, stating that they do not own any other house or apartment.

Ms Khobragade and her father Uttam Khobragade, a retired IAS officer, were also silent on the price of the Adarsh flat in their statement and the source of funds, the report says. But a copy of the Adarsh Society ledger shows that a little over Rs 1 crore was paid.

Furthermore, Ms Khobragade's declaration of assets on the website of the Ministry of External Affairs shows that the flat in the Adarsh society was bought using the proceeds from the sale of the flat in Jogeshwari.

The judicial commission report also finds that Ms Khobragade was a "well-to-do person since she owns agricultural lands in New Delhi, Aurangabad, Thane, Pune and has investments of large amounts." The report adds that "no loan was obtained" by the diplomat for the purchase of the flat in the Adarsh society.

The report, tabled in the Maharashtra Assembly today, has indicted several politicians including three former Chief Ministers for "blatant violations" of statutory provisions. It has slammed former chief minister Ashok Chavan of granting clearances for the upscale 31-storey housing society in Colaba as quid-pro-quo. Three of Mr Chavan's relative are also among the "ineligible" beneficiaries. (Read)

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