Citizens' Issues
Public Interest Exclusive
Ministry of defence had questioned ‘precedence’ of allocating defence land for President Pratibha Patil’s retirement home

RTI documents reveal that the President’s office twisted home ministry rules in its communication to Defence Estate Office, Pune, to get allotment for President Patil’s much-desired land in Pune. The very nature of the land ‘A1’ makes occupation illegal for any civilian which includes the President

Thanks to documents procured by activists under the RTI (Right to Information) Act, it is interesting to note that S Balakrishna, deputy director general, Defence Estates, ministry of defence, in his letter dated 14 March 2011 to the Principal Director, Defence Estates-Southern Command, Pune asked this specific question: “Also, intimate if there is any precedence case in detail.”

Through his 14 March 2011 communication to the Principal Director, Defence Estates Southern Command, Pune, forwarded the much-discussed letter dated 1 February 2011 from the President's office identifying the two bungalows 38 and 26-A and wrote:  "It is requested to forward a detailed report in this regard to this Dte Genl, on priority basis. Also, intimate if there is any precedence case in detail".
 
The Defence Estates Southern Command, Pune, reacted to Mr Balakrishna's first request and called for details from Dr T Arochianathan, Defence Estate Officer, Pune circle, on 15 April 2011 about the two plots.
 
From the reply giving details of the two plots that Dr Arochianathan sent on 29 April 2011 to the Defence Estates Southern Command, Pune, it is clear that the latter did not raise the "precedence case" issue in his 15 April 2011 letter.  The defence Estates Southern Command, Pune, conveniently did not later bother to "intimate" to Balakrishna about the "precedence case in detail". 

After Moneylife’s story on President Patil’s luxurious defence land allotment for her post-retirement home went viral and became the nation’s talking point last Wednesday, citizens are worried and angry that Ms Patil is setting a bad and dangerous precedent of people in high government posts by usurping common man’s land for their own personal benefit. None of her predecessors ever asked for such a favour and were happy retiring in modest residences.

How President’s office manipulated wordings of the rules

Commodore Ravindra Pathak (retd), a retired naval officer who is spearheading the campaign against President Patil’s allotment of 2,42,000 sq ft defence land for her post-retirement home states that, “the story of manipulation and half truths started after the President identified and indicated her choice place for residence.” He is not far from the truth when he points to the letter written by Dr Christy Fernandez, secretary to the President of India on 1 February 2011 to GK Pillai, home secretary, ministry of home affairs, New Delhi.

The secretary to President of India’s letter dated 1 February 2011 to the home secretary has certain factual errors as follows:

How President’s office twists facts: The bungalow number 38 does not have adequate space to set up the office and related facilities required to be provided to a former President.

Facts: As per the inspection of the site conducted by the Defence Estate Office, Pune Circle on 23 and 24 June 2011, the report dated 24 June 2011, bungalow no 38 has more than enough space to accommodate the President as per her entitlement for post-retirement home.

The inspection report, which Moneylife has accessed, states: “in so far as bungalow no 38 is concerned (which is one of the bungalows selected for accommodating Her Excellency the President of India) it is the residence of SWE, admeasuring 2.97 acres (which means 1,29,373 sq ft, way above her entitlement of 4,498 sq ft). Between this bungalow and the CWE’s office which is situated adjacent a vacant area of approximately 0.61 acre is available and combined with the area of B no 38, the total area available can be 3.40 acres.”

Counters Comm Pathak:  “The total plot area of Bungalow No 38 is 2.970 acres (1,29,373 sq ft).This size of plot can easily accommodate 4,498 sq ft plinth of the bungalow as authorized (Type VIII) (See Government of India, Ministry of Urban Affairs & Employment (Works Division) by Memorandum No 11011/2/95-WI  New Delhi, the 12th April, 1996 urban india and yet have adequate space to accommodate facilities for office and attached amenities which are again listed in the memorandum being quoted and the total area for these offices and amenities is:

The total requirement as per rules is as follows:
Office:      500 sq ft
Security   465 + 20* 4 (Security Post) = 565 sq ft
Total        1065 sq ft of which 200 sq ft is portable.
 
The plot size of bungalow no 38 being 1,29,373 sq ft is more than adequate to meet all legal needs of the President. Yet she was given another bungalow 26 A, admeasuring 2.10 acres making the total to 5.60 acres which is 2,42,000 sq ft.

Both Bungalows 26 A and 38 are on A1 meant strictly for military use. How can President Pratibha Patil be entitled to build a home here?


As per orders the classification of Defence land is as follows
Land in Cantonment Area Classification
Category     Land Ownership/ Use    

A1 Land        Under Active occupation of Army
A2 Land        Reserved for the future occupation of Army (Vacant)
B1 Land        Placed under management of Central Govt.
B2 Land        Private Land   
B3 Land        Land belongs to Ministry of Defence but given on lease (outside civil area)
B4 Land        Defence Land (Vacant)

Counters Comm Pathak:
“The land awarded to the President on retirement is Class A1 Land which means it is in active occupation of the Army. Now if the land is in active occupation of the army, how can it be given for construction of a new building for the President who would be a civilian after she retires? This is illegal occupation of Defence land in active use.”
 
What a President of India is entitled to after retirement
 
In terms of the President's (Emoluments and Pension Act 1951) the President on  demitting office is entitled to a rent-free, furnished government accommodation of Type VIII category along with facilities for office and attached amenities.
Fact: Extracts from the Act.
(d) a retired President shall be entitled without payment of rent to the use of a furnished residence anywhere in India at the choice of the retired President, without payment of water and electricity charges for the remainder of his life;
(e) at places where government-owned accommodation is allotted to a retired President, the size of the residence shall be comparable to a residence allotted to a minister in the Union Council of Ministers and if the highest type of government residence available at a particular place is less in size than a residence allotted to a minister in the Union Council of Ministers. The highest type of accommodation available at that place shall be allotted to the ex-President.
 
(Vinita Deshmukh is a consulting editor of Moneylife. She is also an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting, which she won twice in 1998 and 2005, and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte. She can be reached at vinitapune@gmail.com)

User

COMMENTS

B V KRISHNAN

6 years ago

Why is the Defence Minister who is so "correct" is silent. How can he allow defence land be misused illegally? Can we sign a mass on line petition to him asking to stop this wrongdoing?

B V KRISHNAN

6 years ago

Moneylife - please let me know how to join the on line campaign. I will make sure every person known to me is also roped into the campaign to stop this illegal act of the person whom I am ashamed to call as the President of India. The construction should not be allowed to continue at any cost. I am prepared to die for this cause.

N SRINIVASA RAGHAVAN

6 years ago

I wish to become a member & a volunteer to contribute to the cause of stemming the rot of a decaying society.

Nagesh Kini FCA

6 years ago

I don't see any way in which a Lok Pal can stop the construction for the Prez.

Suraj-ji -Since when was Dr. Kalam knighted "Sir" by HM, the Queen?

Suraj

6 years ago

This is the new shining india with no law for powerful.there is strong need for strong lokpal and whoever is against it he/she is in the same pool of her like corrupt people.No need to give respect to such people.I'm amazed to see that how old she is and for whom does she want this illegal house?
Our country leaders should be like Sir APJ Abdul Kalam(the missile man of India) or Mr Vajpayee like

dayananda kamath k

6 years ago

rajeev gandhi allowed kotrochi to acompany him on vikrant which was not acessible to any indian. may be that was his qualification to get commission in bofors deal.

malq

6 years ago

More land for Pratibha Patil . . .

http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report_pr...

SSORNAVEL

6 years ago

How the Minister's \ President are takeing secreat oth ?.If the President doing Manipulation and etc..What about others ?

SKDAMANI

6 years ago

Why is the Hon. President opting for her home: Jalgaon or Amravati? what is wrong with these small cities? With her efforts, at least Jalgaon has got an Airport, though it is not operative at least at present. May be after she opts for her post retirement residence at Jalgaon, the Airport may get activated.
Think Think!!!!!!!!!!!

REPLY

nagesh kini

In Reply to SKDAMANI 6 years ago

The Prez. can land up at Jalgaon airport, set up for her, if, and only if, the entire Pune Cant. work is stopped forthwith, even by a Court of appropriate jurisdiction.

Ratanlal Purohit

6 years ago

IS IT HALO EFFECT BLINDING AUTHORITIES?
PREZ IS CIVILIAN BUT SUPREME COMMANDER OF THE INDIAN ARMY TOO. A1. OFCOURSE.
HOW CAN SHE BE DOWNGRADED TO No. 2.
Should we refer the matter for
PRESIDENTIAL REVIEW?
IT IS BETTER TO GIVE KEYS TO THE THIEF AS THE SAYING GOES.

Nagesh Kini FCA

6 years ago

The approvals, if any,obtained by misrepresentations by the President's Office under her direct instructions, need to be revoked suo moto. If not a stay to stop work brought in by seeking appropriate judicial directions as this classified A1 Land simply cannot be 'awarded' away to any one, President or aam janata, it smacks of Orwell's "some people are more equal than others".
Besides it goes beyond the entitlement and needs to be halted here and now.
What is this lady's contribution to the nation? On a sworn affidavit she has stated that she owns a city and a farm house. She is not homeless. There are millions of homeless and roofless many living with families on the pavements of Mumbai.
When all the other school kids are directed to bus it to the school this lady's grandchild reportedly enjoying Z security comes to school in a limo - another instance of "some are more equal".
Their limo Double/triple parks on Mumbai's high density main road - the Veer Savarkar Marg.
Tomorrow she's likely to put in a demand for constructing a house in the reserved Recreation Ground Dhote Udyan on the Shivaji Park beach because it is bang in front of an elite school, there is no need to bus or triple park!
Will the Madam voluntarily withdraw and get the work stopped?

Pankaj

6 years ago

excellent article. and facts.. Sad state of affair to witness.

Dr VLLokre

6 years ago

What is the status of free bungalows that were given to retired Presidents who are not alive? I would be interested to know whether the dependents of Presidents have surrendered to the Govt.
D. V.L.Lokre,
Retired DRDO Scientist,
Pune
April 18, 2012

REPLY

Ravindra

In Reply to Dr VLLokre 6 years ago

You should be lucky if you find the places are at least occupied by the descendants.

Do not be surprised if some of these are already sold years back.

Pankaj

In Reply to Dr VLLokre 6 years ago

very well query..

nagesh kini

In Reply to Pankaj 6 years ago

If I remember right the heirs of deceased PMs have retained control over the structures as 'memorials' and don't pay a paisa!

Shadi Katyal

6 years ago

Evidently she was well aware and must have asked or demanded from her underlings and the game was on. When her name was nominated, questions of her ethics were raised and now one can see the truth.
Why does she need any such accommodation.Will she become homeless after leaving such office.
Has any of the retired President been allocated such lavish accommodations??? If she has any respect for the nation and self dignity she should refuse it now.
While millions live without any roof on their heads our leaders want palaces.
This must be stopped immediately. Time to wake up and dont let these people loot the nation.

vijayendra

6 years ago

It's a shame we have to live with president of her nature, she has no respect for the people of India and she is total disgrace to Rastrapati Bhavan, No Indian deserve her as their president.

Public Interest Exclusive
SEBI: Curious property buying binge

Angry investors plan to keep a close watch on SEBI’s spending binge this time.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (SEBI) decision to splurge over Rs280 crore on property acquisitions, under UK Sinha, has raised many eyebrows and caused a lot of heartburn among other investigation agencies.
SEBI, says a media report, will be spending eight times its 2011-12 budget on buying...

Premium Content
Monthly Digital Access

Subscribe

Already A Subscriber?
Login
Yearly Digital+Print Access

Subscribe

Moneylife Magazine Subscriber or MAS member?
Login

Yearly Subscriber Login

Enter the mail id that you want to use & click on Go. We will send you a link to your email for verficiation
Public Interest Exclusive
Mumbai lifeline: Local train services in Mumbai hit by midnight fire

The central railway trains were affected after a fire broke out around at two signalling cabins

Local trains on Mumbai's main Central line were running about 45 minutes late this morning, sending the metropolis into a rush hour crisis. This was caused by a fire last night at the Kurla and Vidyavihar signalling cabins damaging some equipment.

The fire, which broke out at midnight, was brought under control soon. But the damage to the equipment meant that trains had to be piloted manually this morning at three or four signals between Kurla and Vidyavihar causing the peak hour delay.

Early morning commuters affected by the delay protested angrily saying the authorities had not shared information or made announcements.

Of the seven million people who commute daily on Mumbai's local trains, close to four million use the main Central line every day. It connects people from far flung suburbs of central Mumbai like Kalyan, Dombivali, Thane to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST). Some key stations on this line are CST, Dadar, Ghatkoper, Thane and Kalyan. Several trains connecting Mumbai to Pune have also been affected

"We are trying to find out the reasons for the mishap. The signalling equipment has been damaged badly," said S Malegoakar, the Chief Public Relations Officer of the Central Railway.

User

We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
  Loading...
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email

BUY NOW

The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Online Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Online Magazine)