Army admits Adarsh plot not registered | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Army admits Adarsh plot not registered

The Army on Monday was forced to admit to the two-member commission looking into the Adarsh society scam that it does not have records of the contentious plot in its official military land register.

mumbai Updated: May 03, 2011 01:39 IST
Ketaki Ghoge

The Army on Monday was forced to admit to the two-member commission looking into the Adarsh society scam that it does not have records of the contentious plot in its official military land register.

The first witness to be grilled by the panel, Brigadier Deepak Saxena, general officer commanding (army), admitted that “as per records” the Adarsh plot does not figure in the military land register and that it was due to negligence on part of the defence establishment that the plot was not registered.

The military land register is a record of all land acquired, leased out or relinquished by the defence ministry.

The ministry had accepted that it had no records earlier too, in its affidavit before the court. Saxena also acknowledged that between the years 2000 and 2010, the defence ministry did not take action or raise objection over the construction of Adarsh building on the plot that it now stakes claim over.

However, Saxena insisted that the land belonged to the Army and that it had been in its physical possession since 1937.

“The plot was in physical possession of the Army for centuries till it was made over to the society by dubious means. No action or objection was taken by the Army except in 2003 when one defence estate officer objected to handing over of the land in question,” he said.

In his affidavit, Saxena annexed four documents, including photographs of two maps - one dating 1897 from the Bombay Archives and the other dating from 1924-25 from the Survey of India - to prove that the Army was in physical possession of the land.

The counsel for the state, RM Vasudev, and the society’s counsel, Manish Desai, challenged the veracity of the maps and documents.

“The documents have been got from Google maps, or refer to photos of maps from archives procured during investigation. They have to prove these are authentic, they cannot be admitted as evidence,” Desai argued.

When the commission’s counsel quizzed Saxena about this, he admitted he had not crosschecked the facts, but reiterated that they were authentic.

The state has been claiming that it has records of land ownership dating from 1964, and the city collector on Monday filed an affidavit to the effect.