The defence ministry official in charge of keeping the Army’s land records on Monday said the documents present with her show that the plot on which the controversial Adarsh housing society was built belongs to the Maharashtra government.
This is the first time a defence official is admitting this. So far, the Army has been insisting that it owns the plot in Cuffe Parade and that it has been in its physical possession since 1937.
Defence Estates Officer Gita Kashyap made this statement to the Adarsh Commission, which is looking into the controversy and has started recording statements. “All the letters including the exhibits [before the commission] state that the land in question belongs to the government of Maharashtra,” Kashyap said.
Her statement assumes significance because she is the authority who keeps documentation of all records of Army land.
She is the second defence official to also admit before the commission that the Army has no proof it owns the land. “I did not find any documents such as a Government Sanad and original award from the files to show that the land in question is owned by the ministry of defence,” she said.
Earlier, Brigadier Deepak Saxena, GOC (Maharashtra and Gujarat) had claimed the Army’s ownership of the plot, but he was unable to produce records to substantiate the claim.
In an affidavit before the commission, both the defence ministry and the Army have previously admitted they don’t have the land records.