Scam-hit Adarsh Society denies encroaching defence land

October 28th, 2010 - 12:24 am ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Oct 27 (IANS) The controversial Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society claimed Wednesday that it had not encroached even an inch of defence land here, as alleged, and that the property in question belongs to the Maharashtra government.

In a statement issued here late Wednesday evening, retired brigadier M.M. Wanchu, president of the society, said: “The fact is that no defence land has been grabbed, not even an inch has been encroached by Adarsh Society.”

Wanchu cited a defence communication and said the land on survey number 652, Colaba Division, forming part of Block VI, is state government land earlier allotted to BEST and left out for road widening.

It was subsequently allotted to the society because the road widening project was abandoned after a ban was imposed on reclamation in 1991.

“This is an important aspect of the whole case and it is clarified that defence has nothing to do with the land in question,” he said.

The Western Naval Command (WNC) had written to the deputy registrar, A ward, for the first time Aug 27, 2009, seeking details of the society.

“The persons staying in the building or the members have been approved by the government of Maharashtra and their antecedents have been properly verified and checked by the state government authorities,” according to Wanchu.

Wanchu also dismissed as “baseless” and factually not correct the contentions that while allotting the land, the state government had stipulated that it was reserved only for Kargil war widows or a girls hostel.

The society president said that Colaba is a non-cantonment military station, which is providing residential accommodation to navy, army, air force and housing recreational clubs and there was no naval establishment around the areas near Adarsh Society as alleged.

He pointed out that the WNC headquarters starts at the Lion Gate, near Colaba, which is around 3-4 km away from the society.

The most sensitive buildings overlooking the WNC and naval dockyards were Hotel Taj Mahal, the Reserve Bank of India building, the Bombay Stock Exchange building and DSK Tower, besides twin highrises, Oyster and Dolphin, which were in the heart of the army area and next to the Indian Naval Hospital, Ashvini, he said.

“Therefore, these are the sensitive buildings the Navy should be concerned about and not the Adarsh Tower, which is far away from them,” he said.

“The reasons are best known to official as to why no objection has been ever raised by navy prior to September 2009, when the building was completed. It will be a sheer incorrect statement to make that either the navy or other authorities have ever raised any security concerns about Adarsh Society,” he said.

“It may be noted that some of the aspirants have been denied membership due to non-availability (of flats) and that is the origin of the problem,” the society president contended.

Wanchu also pointed out that the residential navy area in Colaba was surrounded by more than 10,000 slums towards the Arabian Sea side, which should be a major security concern of the naval authorities and not Adarsh Society.

He said that raising names of generals and other officers was only to sensationalise the issue.

“General Vij was given membership in 2009, almost 5 years after his retirement. Similarly, General (Deepak) Kapoor applied for membership, when he was in the northern command and therefore had no role to play in formation of the society or allotment of land,” he said.

“They have been allotted only a two-BHK flats as a result of increase in FSI. It may be noted that though it is a society like any other normal housing society, but have accommodated more than 60 percent service/ex-servicemen including Kargil heroes and widows and other brave soldiers in addition to 20 percent Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes as per government Rules,” Wanchu said.

Wanchu also submitted a list of the 103 members of the society, who include several big names from various fields of life.

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