India

India 'corruption' building to be razed

Adarsh Society building Image copyright AFP
Image caption The 31-storey building was originally planned as a six-storey housing project for war widows

The top court in the Indian city of Mumbai has ordered the demolition of an apartment building that has been at the centre of a corruption scandal.

It said the Adarsh Society building had become a "symbol of political corruption".

The 31-storey building was originally planned as a six-storey housing project for war widows.

But flats were sold to politicians and military officers, allegedly at prices far below the market rate.

The building, in an exclusive part of central Mumbai, also exceeds the maximum height for buildings near the coast.

In January 2011, the federal environment ministry had ordered the demolition of the building, saying it would set a "precedent" for cases involving violation of coastal protection laws.

Lawyers representing the apartment's owners had challenged the demolition order in court.

On Friday, the Bombay High Court ordered the demolition of the building, and directed the authorities to initiate criminal prosecution cases against politicians and officials involved in the corruption scandal.

The court has given the state government three months to appeal against its order in the Supreme Court.

Maharashtra chief minister, Ashok Chavan, had to resign after it emerged that relatives of his had flats in the building. He denied any wrongdoing.

The Adarsh Society case is one of several corruption scandals that shook the former Congress-led Indian government.

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