Terming as “not tenable and frivolous” Defence Ministry’s notice claiming ownership of the land on which the controversial Adarsh building stands, the Maharashtra government has said litigation between the Union and state government on the title should be avoided.
“The state government sincerely feels that better counsel will prevail upon the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to avoid litigation between the Union of India and government of Maharashtra as unwanted and frivolous pleas are raised about title of the land,” the government has said in a letter to the MoD.
The government’s letter comes in reply to a notice dated May 28, 2012 issued by the MoD to the state government and Adarsh society asking them to hand over possession of the land in south Mumbai to it. The notice demanded that the state government acknowledge the MoD’s title and ownership of the plot within two months failing which it would file a civil title suit.
The Adarsh Society had earlier sent its reply to the MoD, alleging that it was being targeted at the behest of high ranking officials who did not get membership.
The state government’s reply sent by advocate Uday Nighot said the judicial commission, set up in 2011 to probe the scam, had already settled the issue of ownership in favour of the state.
“The commission in its report dated April 13, 2012 has held that the land allotted to Adarsh is owned by the state government and that it was not reserved for Kargil war widows. This report has been accepted by the Maharashtra government,” the reply said.
“In view of this report, it is our view that the Defence Ministry’s stand and request for handing over possession of the land to it is not tenable,” it said.
Earlier, the MoD had filed an affidavit in the Bombay High Court on July 18, 2012 rejecting the commission’s ruling in favour of the state government as “completely flawed”.
“Dispute over the ownership of the land is not yet over. The commission’s report is not binding on either the government or the court. The Ministry of Defence has not accepted the report.
“The report of the Commission is completely flawed, contrary to the evidence on record and is made on patently incorrect interpretation of law,” the Defence Ministry said in an affidavit filed before a division bench of justices S.A. Bobade and Mridula Bhatkar.
The court is hearing a batch of Public Interest Litigations filed by social activists Simpreet Singh and Pravin Wategaonkar seeking monitoring of the investigation in the case by the High Court and invoking provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act against society members.