Mumbai: After Sukna, now comes allegations that a prime land here that belonged to the defence ministry, is being handed over to a housing society.
Several Armys generals along with bureaucrats, have houses in the multi-storey in South Mumbai's prime property in Colaba. The 27-storey building is located near the Colaba defence station with over 3800 square metres.
Allegations that the Maharashtra government's Revenue department gave permission to a private housing society to construct a high-rise here on a land that essentially belongs to the defence ministry. The Revenue department notice makes it clear that in 2003, the land was alloted 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. The documents accessed by CNN IBN show the revenue department suddenly realises that this land is not a defence land. The society members are using the piece of paper to show no irregularities took place.
Brigadier MP Wanchu (retd) argues: "This was never defence land. The letter shows it was an error from State government." The then Revenue Minister Shivajirao Patil Nilangekar also claims that since no one objected, the land was given to the society.
The Adarsh Society, formed in 1994, had 71 members in all. Retired top Army officials, state bureaucrats all became a part of the society with a fee of Rs 50,000 each.
Former Army Chief Gen N C Vij, former GoC of Maharashtra and Gujarat area Maj Gen TK Kaul, Lt Gen G S Sihota, former Army Chief Gen Deepak Kapoor also became a member in 2007 and they all will be allotted a house. Nationalist Congress Party Member of Parliament Shriniwas Patil, a close aide of Sharad Pawar and son of former BMC chief Jairaj Phatak, MPCC spokesperson Kanhaiyalal Gidwani and former Vice Admiral Madanjit Singh will also be allotted houses in the society.
The society claims it has necessary clearances. But questions are being raised as to how a residential building with permission for 30 storeys came 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?