In a severe blow to the ministry of defence, a defence estate official on Tuesday told a judicial panel, probing the Adarsh Housing Society scam, that the land where the controversial high-rise stands, is not owned by it and belongs to the Maharashtra government. “The ministry of defence had not taken any action on a notification issued by the Maharashtra government changing the BEST reservation of a road adjacent to the Society for residential purposes as the Adarsh land was not owned or possessed by the Defence,” said defence estate officer Geeta Kashyap, the second witness to depose before the two-member Commission, constituted by the state government in January.
Kashyap further said she had written a letter to the Army Headquarters (Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa) on April 5, 2010 stating that after verification of documents and records, it is clear that the Defence Ministry does not own the land where the Society stands and that the land in question belongs to the state government. “The letter was sent after due verification. The ministry of defence has not challenged or questioned my letter,” Kashyap said while being cross-examined by prosecutor Dipan Merchant, appearing for the Commission.
Kashyap further said that even after the alleged Adarsh scam came to light the defence ministry did not challenge the state government notification or her letter. On April 10, 2002, the government of Maharashtra had issued a notification changing the BEST reservation of the adjacent road to residential purposes. The Society was granted additional FSI from this plot.
One of the allegations against Adarsh is that the plot where it stands belonged to the defence ministry and the state government could not have allotted it to the Society. The Commission had earlier recorded the evidence of Brigadier Deepak Saxena.