5 years on, 26/11 victim’s family waits for transfer of property

MoD

When Sunil Parekh and his sister Sujata Parekh Kumar bought 11, Kahun Road, an old grant property in Pune Camp on March 17, 2008, hardly did they expect the uncertainties that were to follow. In the 26/11 attack in Mumbai, Sunil, then 44, and his wife Reshma were killed at Hotel Oberoi leaving behind their two minor daughters — Anandita, 16 and Arundhati, 14. Since then, 80-year-old Sarla Parekh's and her husband Sevantilal Parekh's — late Sunil Parekh's parents — only wish has been to pass on their only son's only property to his daughters. But even five years since the family applied to purchase the property, the property has not been transferred in its name. The old couple has been corresponding relentlessly with various departments of the government.

"I am 80. My son was the managing director of a shipping company and thought that Pune to be a good place to buy a property. We want the bungalow to be passed on to our two granddaughters. Even after five years, the property has not been mutated in my son's name. How can we pass it on to our granddaughters? I am told that the papers are lying with the Ministry of Defence (MoD)," said Sarla of South Mumbai.

A quick look at the records made available to The Indian Express showed that the said property - and old grant bungalow on B-3 defence land - that measures about 4,000 sq ft was purchased by Parekhs on March 17, 2008 from four individuals who were the 'holders of occupancy rights'. On March 31, 2009, the Defence Estates Office (DEO) sent the matter to its local boss — Principal Director of Defence Estates (PDDE), Southern Command, and the Local Military Authority (LMA) seeking their comments on the approval. The LMA issued an NoC on April 9, 2009 and the PDDE forwarded the matter to Directorate General of Defence Estates (DGDE) — the highest authority under the MoD on January 11, 2010. The DGDE replied to PDDE with a query on March 12, 2010 which was forwarded to the DEO on August 26, 2010. The DEO, in its reply, said, "There is no unauthorised construction (on the said plot). Now the purchaser is only Sujata since her brother and her sister-in- law were killed in Mumbai terrorist attack...matter be referred to the competent authority for obtaining the sanction for purchase of the above property/ bungalow." The reply was forwarded to the DGDE on November 10, 2010 and since then, the DGDE has been reminded twice by PDDE — once on February 10, 2011 and again on February 22, 2012. There has been no response.

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