The judicial commission probing the Adarsh scam has ruled that the land on which the housing society was built belongs to the Maharashtra government and wasn’t reserved for Kargil war heroes or defence personnel.
The report tabled in the state legislature on Tuesday will come as a huge relief for former chief ministers Ashok Chavan, Vilasrao Deshmukh and Sushilkumar Shinde, who were alleged to have helped the Adarsh society usurp army land and build a 31-storey residential building in Mumbai in violation of rules.
“The land belongs to the Maharashtra government,” the two-member commission said in its final report.
HT had reported on April 14 that the Adarsh probe panel’s interim report had concluded that the defence ministry failed to provide proof of its right on the land.
The report found more credence in the state government’s argument that the plot was reclaimed only in the 1970s and that all such reclaimed land belonged to the state as per the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code.
It said the military’s ‘apathy’ and ‘inaction’ over the years to assert its right over the land it claimed to own strengthened the state’s case.
“Defence ministry officials have acknowledged the title of government of Maharashtra over the plot for over 40 years,” the report said. It noted correspondence from 1958 to 2010 where army officials pointed to the state’s ownership.
The defence ministry, the report said, failed to provide documentary proof that the Adarsh land belonged to the army from before 1937. The commission debunked two maps submitted by the army as evidence.
The report, however, made it clear its judgement was based on “preponderance of probability” and not “proof beyond reasonable doubt".