Mumbai: In south Mumbai's prime property in Colaba, a 27-storey building near the Colaba defence station, over 3800 square metres is at the centre of a fresh controversy.
The entire area, which is around four acres, forms part of the Colaba defence station and is one of the most sensitive defence locations in the country.
There have been allegations that the Maharashtra government’s revenue department gave permission to a private housing society to construct a high rise on land that is essentially defence property.
The revenue department’s notice makes it clear that in 2003 the land was allotted to Adarsh society with a rider that promoters get an NOC from the defence ministry.
A year later in July 2004, the revenue officials did a sudden u-turn.
These documents accessed by CNN-IBN show the revenue department suddenly realised that this land is not defence property.
The society members are using this piece of paper to show no irregularities took place. Brigadier MP Wanchu, (Retired) said, ‘‘this was never defence land this letter shows it was an error from state government.''
The then revenue minister also claims that since no one objected, this land was given to the society
The Adarsh society, formed in 1994, had 71 members that included retired top Army officials and Maharashtra bureaucrats who became a part of the society with a fee of Rs 50,000 each.
The society claims it has necessary clearances but questions are being raised as to how a residential building with permission for 30 storeys come up near Navy Nagar, essentially a cantonment and why the Army chose to maintain a stoic silence.
Did the presence of top army officials and bureaucrats in this society ensure that all NOCs came without a hitch, what is the exact status of the land and more importantly has the revenue department and Army got together and colluded to give away prime property to a private society at throw away prices. These are the questions that still remain unanswered.