Adding another twist to the ongoing battle between the state and the ministry of defence over the possession and ownership of the Adarsh society plot, city collector Chandrashekhar Oak called the military’s possession of the land ‘unauthorised’.
The land on which Adarsh society stands was earlier occupied by the military.
Calling that occupation illegal, Oak said that the military got possession of the land only in 1980-85.
Oak, however, denied having any records to substantiate his claim of the military’s possession being ‘unauthorised’. Significantly, Oak also admitted that the Collectorate had no record of the land being reclaimed in the 1970s, a claim consistently made by the state government.
Oak also admitted to the existence of “a compound wall and a garden” at the plot, while allotting it to Adarsh society members.
Testifying before the two-member Adarsh commission set up by the state government to probe irregularities in the allotment of land and the construction of the controversial Colaba tower, Oak said the Collectorate had correspondence to show that the military was in illegal possession of the land.
Oak said this in response to a question posed by the commission’s senior counsel Dipan Merchant, who asked him if the Collectorate had asked for the military’s no-objection certificate, before granting membership to civilians in the tower.
Denying knowledge of any such NOC, Oak said, “Since the plot was in unauthorised occupation of the military, the then collector might have thought it fit to seek the NOC. (However) I do not think the Collector’s office or any other office working under him has got any information or document showing the Army’s unauthorised occupation.”
In his deposition on Saturday, Oak had said that the state was the original owner of the land. Significantly, Oak added another twist to the tussle by admitting that the Collectorate had no records of the state reclaiming the land on which Adarsh stands.
The state has been maintaining that the plot of land had been reclaimed only in the 1970s, a claim hotly contested by the military authorities who have argued that the plot has been with them since the 1930s.