It has opposed Maharashtra’s stand on land ownership

The Defence Ministry was allowed to intervene in the Adarsh matter by the Bombay High Court on Wednesday, despite opposition by the Maharashtra government and the Adarsh Housing Society here. The Ministry objected to the government’s stand on land ownership.

“It appears from press reports [about the affidavit filed by the State government stating that it did not ask the Central Bureau of Investigation to investigate Adarsh] that the entire CBI jurisdiction is wrong. We want to contest this [stand of Maharashtra government about State ownership of the land],” Kevic Setalvad, senior counsel for the Ministry told a Division Bench of Justices S.A. Bobde and Mridula Bhatkar.

The Ministry directed the CBI to investigate the matter after a dispute arose between the State and Central governments on the issue of ownership of land.

(The Adarsh scam dates back to February 2000. Though the housing complex was meant for serving and retired defence personnel, top politicians, bureaucrats and military officers committed acts of omission and commission and had flats allotted to themselves in this premier property at artificially lowered prices.)

On Tuesday, the State government filed an affidavit, stating that as per the judicial commission appointed by it, the land belonged to the State government. It accepted the commission findings.

But the Ministry said the land was in its possession and it wanted to contest the stand of the State government. Till now, the Ministry was not a party to the court proceedings. On Wednesday, the court allowed it to intervene, and gave it two weeks’ time to file an application, challenging the State government’s stand.

The Adarsh society also filed an application, pleading that the court dismiss a Public Interest Litigation petition requesting a CBI probe.

“The entire action of the CBI, including registration of an FIR, arrest of persons, investigation, etc, be declared null and void and without the authority of law and, therefore, illegal,” said the application filed by the society on Tuesday.

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