'Adarsh land belonged to Maha govt'
An army inquiry has indicated the land on which the Adarsh Housing Society stands belonged to the Maharashtra government although defence authorities were in possession of the plot before handing it over to the society, a judicial panel has been informed.mumbai Updated: Jul 20, 2011 21:32 IST
An army inquiry has indicated the land on which the Adarsh Housing Society stands belonged to the Maharashtra government although defence authorities were in possession of the plot before handing it over to the society, a judicial panel has been informed.
An inquiry report was submitted by the army officials to the two-member Adarsh Commission of Inquiry last week, a copy of which was made available today.
The chief of army staff had ordered an independent inquiry as various reports were appearing in the media that were "maligning" its image. The inquiry officer had even visited Mumbai's city survey and land record department and got various details including the property cards. According to the report, the status of Adarsh land at Colaba is related to land reclamation at the area, and in 1796 island of Colaba was declared as military area and entry of civilian population was prohibited. It said that in 1860 Backbay Reclamation Company was formed to reclaim the whole of Backbay.
The company in 1926 reclaimed 439.6 acres of land out of which 234.8 were purchased by the military. The report said that in 1956 the state government had proposed transfer of 41.8 acres of defence land at Santacruz for (construction) of Western Express Highway and for rehabilitation of slums. In exchange the government agreed to give land at Block VI of Bombay Government Land to the military. However valuation of land never reached its logical conclusion, it said.
As per the report, suddenly in the year 1964, the collector of Mumbai conveyed that the Maharashtra government had decided not to transfer land at Block VI to defence authorities. Thereafter, through correspondence, it was said that Block VI does not belong to defence authorities. It said the defence authorities were looking after the plot so as to keep it encroachment free and therefore before it was handed over to Adarsh, it was in their possession.
The report further said that between October 31, 2005 and November 24, 2005 few letters were written by defence authorities to the Adarsh Society and the collector of Mumbai. Letters to the society pertained to uprooting trees from the land and replanting them on defence land without sanction of Defence Estate Officer (DEO). The letters stated that it was offence and trespass and why FIR should not be lodged against then (society), it said.
The letter to the collector of Mumbai pertained to security and it stated that construction of high-rise by Adarsh society had security implications and that the list of office bearers and members of society be provided for necessary verification by army, it said.
There was also correspondence among DEO, army headquarters and collector's office wherein the DEO had objected to the NOC and had even informed the army headquarters of loss of army interests. "Adarsh Society responded by stating that DEO was harming the interests of service personals, ex-servicemen, war widows as he was not allotted a flat in the society," the report said.