The Maharashtra government said on Thursday that it would partially accept the findings of the judicial panel constituted to investigate the irregularities in the allotment of flats in Adarsh, a building in south Mumbai intended for war widows and veterans.

Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said his government had decided to review its December 20 decision to reject the report, after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi criticised this step.

Chavan said the government would take action against the bureaucrats indicted in the report, but not the politicians, a group that includes four former chief ministers of Maharashtra.

Several politicians and bureaucrats own flats in the building, even though it was intended to house military families.

Considering the various legal violations that enabled the tower to be constructed, it is unclear why neither the Adarsh panel nor the government has recommended that the tower be demolished.

The 31-storey Adarsh tower was built on highly shaky legal and procedural foundations. To begin with, it was meant to be a six-storey building for war widows. According to the development control rules, the maximum height allowed for buildings in the area is 45.6 metres.

In 2007, the Mumbai municipal corporation cleared the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society's request to add extra floors, taking the height up to 97.6 metres. By 2009, the tower had soared to 104 metres.

The increase in height was made possible because authorities repeatedly -- and controversially -- allowed the Adarsh housing society to increase its floor space index, or the ratio of the area of the plot of land to the floor area of all the flats in the building.

As Adarsh grew taller, it encroached on a 2,669 square-metre plot reserved for the adjacent Backbay Reclamation Depot, a terminus for public buses.

In 2005, the state's urban development department overruled the objections of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking and granted Adash the FSI that should have accrued to the bus depot.

The tower also violated the state's stringent coastal regulatory zone norms, the panel has found.

On 11 March, 2003, the urban development department wrote to the ministry of forests and environment asking for permission to develop the property, which falls under the protected Coastal Regulatory Zone II.

The environment ministry wrote back saying it was the state's responsibility to carry out development in accordance with the coastal zone management plan for Mumbai.

In a baffling move, the department interpreted this as a no-objection certificate from the ministry. It cleared the construction of a tower more than 100 metres high.

Ironically, the Adarsh housing society cited the very same norms to argue that the bus depot could not be constructed on the adjacent plot. In 2003, it had stated that the transport undertaking's use of the adjoining plot was unauthorised, and that the bus depot could not be built because of coastal restrictions.

Eventually, the state evicted the transport undertaking, saying it was using government land and would have to pay market prices for it. The state then sold the plot to the Adarsh housing society for Rs 6.14 crore, far below the market price, the report said.

More state concessions followed, often overruling the concerns of individual departments, such as the high-rise committee and the Mumbai Metropolitan Road Development Authority. (Read the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General report here.)

Adarsh, from its very inception, has been the recipient of government largesse.

As early as 2000, the Mumbai collector told the state that the Adarsh plot was reserved for a road widening project listed in the MMRDA's development plan.

As the CAG audit revealed, the state had earlier rejected requests to develop the plot for ex-servicemen citing this very reason.

But the development plan was modified, a proposed road near the plot was deleted, another was narrowed, all so the tower could come up.

Moreover, the existence of the tower, in the middle of the Colaba defence area, poses a security threat.

As the public accounts committee on the Adarsh scam observed in its report tabled in the Lok Sabha, it allows "its residents to observe the number and type of specialised and general performance vehicles" in nearby military workshops.

The Maharashtra government has partially accepted the recommendations of the judicial commission, which means that it will take action against the 12 bureaucrats accused of colluding with the tower's

But chief minister Chavan has said that no action will be taken against four former chief ministers mentioned in the report. He said that  Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushilkumar Shinde and Shivajirao Nilangekar Patil had provided political patronage to the project but were not guilty of any crimes.

When asked about the fourth former chief minister, Ashok Chavan, he said that the Central Bureau of Investigation had already filed a charge sheet against him, but did not say anything about Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan later rejecting the CBI’s plea to prosecute Ashok Chavan.

The judicial panel found that Ashok Chavan had given clearances for the building on a quid pro quo basis. His relatives -- Seema Sharma, whose husband Vinod is Chavan's brother-in-law; Madanlal Sharma, who is brother of Manoharlal Sharma, Chavan’s father-in-law; and the late Bhagwati Sharma, Chavan’s mother-in-law -- became members of the housing society.promoters.

These measures, half-hearted as they are in tackling the political corruption revealed by the Adarsh probe, come no closer to resolving the bigger issue: what must be done about the tower itself?

Three years ago, Dr Nalini Bhatt, an advisor to the environment ministry,  suggested that the tower be demolished and that the land be restored to its original state.

Several precedents for such action already exist, such as the orders to demolish Pratibha and Campa Cola Compound, both in south Mumbai.

Adarsh violates so many regulations, demolition seems to be the only reasonable course of action.