The cross-examination of defence estate officer Gita Kashyap before the Adarsh commission on Wednesday brought out further contradictions in the ministry of defence’s (MoD) stance on owning and possessing the disputed plot in Colaba.
Kashyap admitted that the 1958 letter between the joint secretary to the government of India and the secretary to the government of Bombay did not talk of creation of land in Block VI in favour of the defence ministry as mentioned by KB Nayyar, undersecretary of the MoD in his affidavit.
Nayyar in his affidavit before the high court had said, “The right to own, possess and occupy land in Block VI Colaba, when reclaimed was created in favour of the defence ministry by the government of Bombay.”
Nayyar had based this statement on the letter dated December 31, 1958.
The letter had sought the prime plot on which the Adarsh housing society stands in exchange for the plot in Santacruz that was owned by the Army and given to the state government for a project. However, the state government had refused to agree to this deal.
Kashyap admitted that the 1958 letter did not say that the right to occupy and possess the land was created in favour of the defence ministry.
She also accepted that the defence estate officer had not challenged the state government when it issued a corrigendum in 2004 deleting the words “presently in possession of the defence department” from the property card of the Adarsh plot.
Kashyap had admitted on Monday that the Adarsh plot was owned by the state government. The arguments before the commission are now focussing on whether the armed forces possessed this plot and under what circumstances was the transfer of the plot granted to the society.