The Army and the defence ministry were both aware that the plot at Cuffe Parade had been allotted to Adarsh housing society, the inquiry commission looking into the controversy was told on Wednesday.
“Yes, we were aware in June 2004 that the property was being allotted to Adarsh,” Brigadier Deepak Saxena, general officer commanding (GOC), Maharashtra and Gujarat, admitted while being cross-examined by the commission.
The Army, which is claiming ownership of the plot on which the high-rise has been built, chose not to challenge the allotment then, Saxena said, adding that he could not submit documents pertaining to the Army’s ownership of the land as the Military Land Register did not have any such record.
“I have checked the files. I could not find the documents that are being sought,” he said.
Earlier too, in its affidavit in the court, the defence ministry has accepted that it has no records regarding the ownership of the plot.
Saxena has also previously acknowledged that between the years 2000 and 2010, the ministry did not take action or raise objection over the construction of the building on the plot.
However, the Army is insisting that the land belongs to it and that it has been in its physical possession since 1937. The state government has also laid claim to the plot.
The commission is investigating whether defence and government officials misused authority and position to acquire the land and flats in the Colaba housing society, as well as the violation of construction and environmental norms.
The society members include military commanders, politicians, bureaucrats and their relatives.
The commission, set up in January to probe the scam, is expected to submit its report by June.