New Delhi: President Pratibha Patil has decided to give up the proposed accommodation in Pune. A bungalow was being built on defence land in violation of norms and was meant for Patil's post-retirement stay.
Presidential Spokesperson Archana Dutta said, "The President was very much pained at fabricated observation in the media that this land was being transferred to her. She has decided to forego her post retirement home in Pune. The President has not decided where she will go for her post retirement home."
"She chose not to react as she held herself answerable to the Constitution of the country and her conscience," Dutta added.
She also said that the land will remain with the government.
Pratibha Patil was caught in a controversy over defence land allotted to her in Pune. An RTI application filed by former defence officers had shown that her proposed post-retirement bungalow was being built on defence land far in excess of what is sanctioned under the rules.
Activists argued that the controversial piece of land in Khadki, Pune where the President's post-retirement bungalow is being built, could have gone to jawans, who now live in slum like conditions.
The President's office had, however, denied that any rules were flouted.
Even as the massive 2,61,000 sq ft plot of defence land in Pune had been allotted to President Pratibha Patil, an RTI query had also revealed that the President is eligible for a government bungalow comparable to a residence allotted to a Union Minister. And, if it is not available, the government can rent accommodation that has an area of not more than 2,000 sq ft.
Former defence personnel also alleged that patil was constructing on the land, which was not permissible by the rules.
"From RTI we have found that this allotment is completely wrong," said Suresh Patil, retired army officer and founder of Justice for Jawans.
However, President Patil's son Rajendra Shekhawat had said that there was no case of land grabbing. "Whatever she is given is as per what is entitled for the President, nothing is going to be behind that. I don't think she's encroaching on anyone else. she being the supreme commander of the defense forces certainly knows her duties and she's not going to encroach on anyone's land," he told CNN-IBN.