MUMBAI: In a major relief to three former Maharashtra chief ministers, a judicial panel's interim report Tuesday said the land on which the controversial Adarsh Society building stands belongs to the state government and was not intended for Kargil war heroes or their relatives.
The interim report by the two-member judicial commission comprising former judge, Justice J.A. Patil and former state chief secretary P. Subrahmanyam, appointed nearly one and half years ago, was tabled in the state legislature this afternoon.
"Their (state government) claim stands established in view of the provisions of Section 294, Military Land Register Code, 1966. The MLRC came into force on Aug 15, 1967 and there is no evidence to show that on that date the land in question was occupied by anybody," the commission's report said.
"Moreover, the same has been corroborated by other factors viz., admissions on part of the MoD (ministry of defence), absence of entry of the land in question in the MLR maintained by the Defence Estates Officer and the inaction on the part of Army/MoD to assert their alleged right."
"The Commission, therefore, holds that the land belongs to GoM (government of Maharashtra) and accordingly records its finding on Term No 1 of the reference," it noted.
On the issue of reservation of the plot for Kargil heroes, the commission stated: "There is no GR or notification issued by the Government of Maharashtra providing reservation of the land in question for the defence personnel or Kargil war heroes."
"In fact at the time of arguments the counsel for MoD, GoM, or even the Adarsh CHS Ltd uniformally submitted that there was no such reservation. In view of this position, there is no difficulty in recording a negative finding on Term No 2 of the reference."
An official told IANS: "Earlier, this (Tuesday) morning, it (the interim report) was discussed at the state cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and approved before it was tabled in the legislature."
The interim report's finding effectively spurns the claim of the defence authorities that the plot of land in the posh Colaba area of south Mumbai belonged to the department, and virtually upheld the state government's contention that it was reclaimed from the Arabian Sea in the 1970s.
The commission, which is enquiring into 13 crucial points, submitted its findings on two critical aspects concerning the ownership of the land - where the 31-storeyed building stands - and its reservation for war martyrs or their families.
The report, which claimed the job of former chief minister Ashok Chavan and also raised questions over the role played by his predecessors, Vilasrao Deshmukh and Sushilkumar Shinde, both are now union ministers, will submit its final findings on the remaining 11 points later, the official informed.