More skeletons are tumbling out of the Adarsh closet. In a month and a half, the state made changes to a government resolution (GR), deleting a line that showed the Adarsh land was “in possession of the defence department”. The revelation came during the cross-examination of Mumbai collector C Oak by senior advocate Dipan Merchant , counsel for the commission. It came to light that the change was made at the Adarsh society’s request.
The original government resolution dated July 9, 2004, allotting land to Adarsh mentions that the plot was in the army’s possession. Ten days later, the society’s chief promoter, Kanhaiyalal Gidwani , wrote a letter, asking the government to either delete the words “possession is with the defence department” or to add the word “illegal” so that it would read “illegal possession”. By a corrigendum, the government on August 16, 2004 opted to delete the words “possession is with the defence department”.
Replying to Merchant’s questions, Oak said that while the first GR was issued after inspection of the land, he was not sure if the second GR was based on any survey of the plot. This led commission member P Subramanian to ask if it was not felt necessary to consult the defence ministry before issuing the corrigendum, which deleted the fact that the land was in the army’s possession. Oak replied in the negative.
Oak admitted that the state had never taken physical possession of the land from the army, before handing it over to Adarsh or the society began construction. The collector had on Monday agreed that the Adarsh land was in the defence department’s possession. This was contradictory to the state’s claim that it had reclaimed the land in 1973 was the plot was owned by it.
In a related development, Oak said that Sushil Kumar Shinde was chief minister when the government issued the GR. “The cost of land was more than Rs 25 lakh. Therefore, the matter should have gone to the CM (Shinde),” Oak said, adding that he would have to check if the matter was referred to Shinde. Economic Times