MoD suit claims land, says building illegal

FP

The Ministry of Defence on Friday filed a suit in the Bombay High Court seeking possession of the land on which the controversial Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society stands, claiming it is defence land and that the 31-storey Adarsh building in Cuffe Parade has been constructed "illegally and unlawfully".

On December 7, the Union government had stated in the High Court that it intends to file a suit. The statement had been made by Additional Solicitor General Kevic Setalvad in the context of a petition filed by the Adarsh Society demanding that its plea challenging a demolition notice of January 2011 be heard by the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

Counsel for the MoD Dhiren Shah told the The Indian Express, "We have mainly sought a declaration of title stating that the land belongs to the defence department and a direction to give back possession to us. We are relying on various maps and documents to show the land was in existence before 1937 and was in the possession of the defence department."

The state government, on the other hand, claims that the land was reclaimed in the 1970s and all reclaimed land belongs to the state government according to the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code. This position was upheld by a two-member commission appointed by the state government to probe issues related to the controversy. The commission held that the MoD had failed to provide documentary proof that the land existed in 1937 and belonged to the defence department.

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