Former city collector Debashish Chakraborty on Tuesday told the two-member Adarsh inquiry commission that he had not served any notice or given hearing to the defence after he came to know that the disputed land on which the 31-storey Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society stands today, was illegally occupied by it.
“It is true that before removing any person from the government land, it is necessary for the collector to come to a conclusion whether possession is authorised or not. To arrive at this conclusion, it is first necessary to give notice and hearing to the concerned person. I did not serve any notice or hearing to the LMA (Local Military Authority) before arriving at this conclusion that the LMA was in unauthorised occupation of the land in question,” said Chakraborty, while deposing before the commission constituted to inquire into the irregularities in the controversial society at Colaba.
The former collector also defended his action saying that he was not bound to give notice and hearing to the defence authorities under the provisions of Section 300 of the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code. However, during the second day of the grilling session, the former collector made certain contradictory statements.
Chakraborty said that he stood by his earlier statement that it was necessary to obtain the ownership of the land before transfer.
When commission counsel Dipan Merchant asked him whether he had come across the file for construction of defence rest house for ex-military men, he agreed that the file had come to him but he did not go through it.
While deposing before the commission on Monday, Chakraborty, who was the collector between June 1999 and August 2008, said that according to his assessment, the land was in unauthorised possession of the defence authorities. He said he had also submitted a report stating these facts before the government in May 2005. However, the state failed to act on his report. He claimed that he had checked land records for the last one-and-a-half century and arrived at the conclusion. The former city collector had also claimed that there was no point in approaching the courts.
Regarding the land, he first said that the land sought for this project was not the disputed one but finally agreed that it was the same on which the controversial Adarsh society at Colaba was located.