An organisation of ex-servicemen in Pune has alleged more than 260,000 square feet has been allotted for building a retirement home for Pratibha Patil, who is also supreme commander of the armed forces in her capacity as President.
The land in question belongs to defence estate. Patil’s term as President ends in July.
The organisation has also complained two British-era bungalows have been demolished to build her new home.
The President’s office, however, said on Thursday all rules were being strictly adhered to on this.
Sources said under the present rules, a former President is entitled to a furnished bungalow at a place of his or her choice in India. If government accommodation is available, the retired President is entitled to the type of residence available to Union ministers.
Justice for Jawan, part of the NGO ‘Green Thumb’ group, however, questioned why so much land had been allotted to built a house for Patil.
Suresh Patil, a retired lieutenant colonel and founder of Justice for Jawan, Ravindra Pathak of the Indian Ex-servicemen Movement and RTI activist Anup Awasthi took the initiative in this.
Suresh Patil said he had accessed the details of the government's plans. A large extent of land was being fenced, he said.
According to a Rashtrapati Bhavan reply given to an RTI query filed by Suresh Patil and his colleagues, matters related to post-retirement houses are governed under the President’s Emoluments and Pension Act, 1951, and the rules framed under the President’s Pension Rules, 1962.
The President is entitled to stay in a house measuring 4,498 square feet though the rule is silent on the overall area of land.
The activists said they had no precise information on the area of the proposed bungalow.
“We do not know (how much) area being used for actual construction,” said Pathak.
With inputs from PTI