Uttam Khobragade, a retired IAS officer and former general manager of the BEST undertaking, had in his affidavit before the Adarsh inquiry commission on Monday, denied using any influence to secure a flat for his daughter, Devyani, in the controversial Adarsh housing society at Cuffe Parade.
He said his daughter had secured membership as she belonged to the civil services and not because she was his family member. “As far as I am concerned, I do not remember handling any Adarsh files during my tenure as general manager,” Khobragade said. He said as his daughter was posted in Berlin, Germany, he had been given the power of attorney.
The Adarsh society had purchased 2,669 square metres of Floor Space Index (FSI) on the BEST depot land for a sum of Rs 6.24 crore, which was then used to add additional floors to the building. Following this, the reservation of the BEST depot was deleted, which critics said was done to benefit the society.
On Monday, colonel Manish Mohan Erry, the defence officer who prepared the confidential report on the Adarsh society, deposed before the commission. He said he was told by the quarter master general of the Army headquarters and additional director general land works and environment that the chief of Army staff wanted a detailed report on Adarsh. Erry said he had relied on the Defence Estate Officer (DEO) Gita Kashyap’s statement that the Adarsh land did not belong to the defence.
“I visited the office of the DEO in Mumbai to obtain details concerning the defence land, but I was not shown any documents. I enquired with the DEO, Gita Kashyap, whether the land in question was defence land and she replied in the negative. Therefore, I did not ask for any further documents,” Erry said.
His contention was that the DEO was responsible for maintaining records pertaining to defence land.
Senior government officials like chief secretary Ratnakar Gaikwad and revenue secretary Swadheen Kshatriya who were supposed to file their affidavits on Monday have asked for an extension.