Brigadier Deepak Saxena, being cross-examined before the two-member Adarsh commission, admitted that the 1957 Survey of India map of military lands, Colaba, did not show “the existence or demarcation of the land in question”.
He was referring to the plot on which the controversial Adarsh housing society stands.
The statement could subvert the Army’s claims that the Adarsh plot had been in its possession since the colonial period. Saxena, however, immediately retracted the statement saying, “The map now shows the existence of the land in question.”
The counsel representing the state government and the counsel representing Adarsh society on Monday continued its cross-examination of Brigadier Deepak Saxena, over the plot of the society, claiming that it was under the sea until the 1960s and the area was reclaimed much later by the state. The Army’s stand has been that the concerned land had been handed over to the defence by the British. The Brigadier said the plot came to the Ministry of Defence in the 18th century and was being used by the military.
The state government contested this claim by showing city survey maps from 1914 onwards that show the land in question under the sea and reclaimed much later in the ’60s.
When quizzed by the state counsel, senior advocate Anil Sakhare, Saxena denied that in 1937 the land in question was under water. He, however, again admitted that the military did not have any record of this land. And, it also did not have documentary evidence to show for what purpose the land was being used.
However, later when being quizzed by the counsel for the society, advocate Satish Maneshinde, on the 1957 India Survey map, Saxena admitted that the Captain Prakash Pethe Road (on which the Adarsh plot currently stands) was constructed in 1966-67. He also admitted that in 1958 Block VI (which includes Adarsh plot) was not reclaimed.