Two vital official letters have now revealed how senior state officials admitted that the military had occupied the controversial Adarsh society plot since 1940. Although the state has been maintaining that the plot was reclaimed only in 1973-74, these revelations might just substantiate the military authorities’ claim of having occupied the land since the British era.
In his deposition before the two-member Adarsh inquiry commission, city collector Chandrashekhar Oak said that even though the state had reclaimed the land in the ’70s, there was no proof to prove it.
It was also proved that there was indeed a proposal by the Sainik Welfare Board to build a rest house for army officials, and had asked for a 1,000 sq m plot to be allotted to them. The HT had on June 27 reported how the Adarsh Tower may have replaced an army rest house.
The first letter dated 12/12/1989, addressed by the then collector to the additional chief secretary (revenue), said, “…as the land in question is in possession of the military since 1940 and the military area/jurisdiction begins from this demanded land.” To which Oak said, “The land was not even in existence in 1940. This is factually incorrect.”
The commission’s counsel showed Oak a copy of the minutes of a meeting held on 22/12/1989, between the minister of state, general administration department and the collector, wherein the proposal to allot land for the rest house was discussed. The minutes read, “The military authorities requested for the allotment of the strip of land located between existing Prakash Pethe Marg and the Colaba Bus station. It was clarified that the said land belongs to the state but is in possession of the military since 1942.” Oak disagreed, but later said that the minutes “may be about the land in question (on which Adarsh was later built)”.