Citizens' Issues
President Pratibha Patil grabs 2,61,000 sq ft of land meant for soldiers and officers

An RTI activist from Pune, Col Suresh Patil (retd) remarked, “Dr Rajendra Prasad donated his land to Vinoba Bhave and here we have Pratibhatai Patil taking away the land for of her own men

Consider this: Eight hundred jawans of the Territorial Army (TA) are presently posted in Pune but there is residential accommodation for only 14. This being a family posting (a bonanza offered after a harsh field station posting), each jawan desires to bring his family, otherwise left behind in his hometown, when he is guarding the nation’s frontiers, often in a challenging geographical terrain. However, due to lack of official accommodation, a jawan is asked by his seniors to refrain from getting his family to Pune. Those jawans who decide to get their families to Pune nevertheless, live in slum-like conditions in one-room dwellings, near the Pune cantonment, with no drinking water facility.  In addition, paucity of residential accommodation for hundreds of soldiers and officers in the Indian Armed Forces in Pune is causing great inconvenience to the families.

Now consider this: Pratibha Patil, president of India and the supreme commander of the armed forces is building a palatial home for herself on a whopping 261,000 sq ft of land in Khadki Cantonment in Pune (out of which the bungalow occupies about 4,500 sq ft). The land belongs to the defence. It will now have a fortified home, the construction of which is nearing completion.

The president is eligible for only 2,000 sq ft bungalow in any part of the country if he/she wants the government to hire a home for him/her, after retirement. Otherwise, he/she is entitled to a government-owned Class V bungalow (around 4,500 sq ft) if it is available.  He/she is not eligible to build a home on government land. Some former defence personnel from Pune who are campaigning against this illegality are taking strong objections to the fact that Ms Patil is constructing her house on government land, when hundreds of jawans and officers are facing official accommodation crisis.

This revelation under the Right to Information (RTI) Act was procured by Col Suresh Patil (retd) and founder of Justice for Jawans (JFJ), RTI activist Anup Awasthi and Indian Ex-servicemen Movement (IESM) who are campaigning against Ms Patil’s ‘snatching’ away land meant for soldiers and officers.

The RTI application was sent to the president’s office. As per the reply, under the President’s Emoluments and Pension Act, 1951 and rules framed under the President’s Pension Rule, 1962, “where suitable government residence is not available for allotment to a retired president, the size of the residence to be taken on lease to be provided to a retired president shall have a living area not exceeding 2,000 sq ft”.

“A place where government-owned accommodation is allotted to a retired president, the size of the residence is comparable to a residence allotted to a minister in the Union council of ministers and if the highest type of government residence available as 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. At present, a minister is entitled to a plinth area of the bungalow as 4,498 sq ft”.

The reply under RTI also stated that she is eligible to drinking water and electricity supply, free of cost, throughout her life.

States commander Ravindra Pathak, member of the IESM and who invoked the RTI, “taking away more than 2.5 lakh sq ft of defence land is sheer looting by Ms Patil. We are sending a letter to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to take up the case suo moto. We have no money to pay for lawyers’ expenses.”

Col Suresh Patil (retd) elaborates, “Two defence bungalows have been pulled down to make way for Ms Patil’s bungalow and the vast expanse of land, over 2 lakh sq ft has been fortified for her. We are saying that let her keep the 2,000 sq ft she is entitled to and give away the remaining land for constructing official accommodation for soldiers and officers. Otherwise, there are numerous bungalows in the three cantonments of Pune and she could have been given accommodation in one of these.”

No other president has made such claims for personal gains, alleges Col Patil. He adds says, “Dr Rajendra Prasad donated his land to Vinoba Bhave and here we have Pratibhatai Patil taking away the land for of her own men—after all she is the supreme commander of the armed forces.”

RTI in this case provided information but who’s going to tie the proverbial bell round the cat? Hence, we need a strong anti-corruption law.

(Vinita Deshmukh is 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 series 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)

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COMMENTS

Arunjith

4 years ago

If husband is found guilty for land grabbing, son is caught with 1CR cash during election, THEN CASE IS NO BIG SURPRISE.. to any one... IT HAPPENS IN FAMILY.

Vishram patil

4 years ago

It is alleged that now she is using the services of Tripura Governor D Y Patil for putting pressure on the ex Army people in Pune and since he is under pressure for out standings of over 50 crores to Income Tax Department. And he is using all government facilities like airplane car funds to try to pay this amount. Anyway it will all come out in RTI why DY Patil is in Pune, what his son inlaw pd Patil is doing.

Truth will come!

Anil Jain

4 years ago

She should be prosecuted if the charges are true.

Rajeev

4 years ago

Complete misuse of power and opportunism.

malq

4 years ago

The latest update. Harassment of retired Army officers in this episode now.

http://www.timesnow.tv/Debate-Whistle-bl...

malq

4 years ago

Here's another report of another land grab. How much does our First Palloo, Lady of the 420 gun salute, want??

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

Hail to the Thief!!

Ratanlal Purohit

4 years ago

Smt Pratibhatai Sahiba is our head of the State and should command highest regard regardless. SHE SHOULD ENJOY HIGHEST BENEFITS TO MAINTAIN HER HIGH STANDARDS AS PER HIGH OFFICE.
I was passing through GRAND ANTILLA 27 STORIED MARVEL MANSION OF MUKES. CHANDALIER WAS BRIGHT AND COULD BE SEEN. MY TL ALSO GOT LIT. ARRE BABA HE IS SPENDING LAKHS ON HIS ELECTRICITY ALONE PER MONTH. AND OUR HOME MINISTER IS SPOILING DECOR OF TAI'S HAPPY HOME. IS SHE ANY LESS. NO BODY TALKS OF THOUSANDS OF CRORE COST OF ANTILA. MUKESH GRABBED LAND OF ORFANS. I DONT HOW WAQF ALLOWED. AND EVERY ONE IS TALKING OF COUPLE OF LAKHS OF OBSCURE KIRKI PUNE LAND. OBVIOUSLY SHE CANT BE LOOKED IN POOR LIGHT
RELATIVELY SPEAKING. SHE IS JEWEL IN THE CROWN OF INDIA. SHE IS RAISING THE BAR OF HIGH STANDARDS SET BY NEO RICH. SHE HAS TO PARK HER HELICOPTERS. TREES HAVE TO GO TO BE RPELANTED TO BEAUTIFY SOME NALLAS OF RETIRED ARMY MEN. IT COMES IN THE WAY OF HELLPAD.
ITS A NEQ ANGLE TO LOOK FROM THE POINT OF MOST HONOURABLE PREZ TAI SAHIBA.
DON'T USE HUL SURF EXCEL DET LINE. DAAG TO ACHCHE HAIN.
DAAG UNKE GUNAHON
KE DHULE NA DHULE.
NEKIYAN UNKI PATA
CHALE NA CHALE.
ARRE BHAI AAJ 3X6
KYON DIKHATE HO


KAL BHI UNKI AANKH KHULE NA KHULE. KAL UNKI

sridhar

4 years ago

Pl advise her that 6'x3' is calling, (in her case even that may not required) why unnecessarily succumbing to Congress ideas. In the meantime anyone can simply tell us what they are uttering while taking the "Oath". "Party loots will not be revealed???"

malq

4 years ago

Apparently the lady now wants 85 lakhs for interior decoration work for the palace being built in Pune . . . where does the greed and landgrab end? Free food and drink for the rest of her family for how many generations, next?

http://zeenews.india.com/news/nation/hom...

""In a huge snub to the head of the state President Pratibha Patil, the Home Ministry has turned down her demand for Rs 85 lakhs to do up her new controversy ridden retirement home in Pune.

Union Home Minister, P Chidambaram has reluctantly sanctioned Rs 20 lakhs which is still a record sum in the history of the republic.

Former presidents such as APJ Kalam were given Rs 6 and a half lakhs and earlier presidents such as KR Narayan and Shankar Dayal Sharma sought and got only Rs four and a half lakhs and one and a half lakhs.

This was cited by the Home Ministry to turn down Pratibha Patil's demand.""

P V Ariel

4 years ago

Oh!! My God What a shocking news it is? And what a shame too!!! A thorough inquiry should be conducted and all the guilty should be punished according to the rule of the land. No political influence should be involved in the inquiry.

REPLY

S kumar Parmar

In Reply to P V Ariel 4 years ago

But statement is being given that nothing wrong is being done...???

ushareddy

4 years ago

our present leaders know only three words I ME and MINE nothing else

REPLY

S kumar Parmar

In Reply to ushareddy 4 years ago

Because ego comes in their way....!!!

pankaj kapadia

4 years ago

Pls help moneylife to find why this land was alloted (read 100 times higher than eligibility). the reason is very obvious. Not for her work but for some favor. If you find the who favored.. u would know what misdid she did. FIND THE REASON

S George

4 years ago

From the beginning I had a feeling that she was not fit for the hob. President post itself should be abolished. Very sorry to see that we are getting such inefficient, greedy people appointed by congress for their own ends.

GAJANAN V YADAV

4 years ago

IF CHARGES ON HER TRUE THEN REST OF THE DIGNITARIES, IF MAKES PROPERTIES ON GOVT. LAND THEN NO SURPRISE. WE NEED ANOTHER NEWSPAPER CALLED
" BHRASTACHAR / ATYACHAR PATRIKA "
"SAMPATTI BANAO PATRIKA " TO READ SUCH TYPE OF INSTANCES.
BHAGWAN BACHAYE AB IS DESH KO. INSAN HAAR RAHA HAI. MANGAI SE DABATA JA RAHA HAI
JAIHIND

Aniket

4 years ago

President Pratibha Patil is like Goddess!! Few fanatic people are jealous of her success. This is just to defame her.

REPLY

pankaj

In Reply to Aniket 4 years ago

prabhu vachan , aapke ; aniket ji.... jai ho maharaaj !! bhagwaan bhi aise Goddess ko dekh kar sochta hoga ,,, kya yeh mere dwara banaya hue koi hasti hai . abb hindustan ko chodo,, mere takht ( kingdom) par iski nazar pad gayi ,, to yeh bhi grab ho jayega.. so let her satisfy her desire from this mrityulok land only and please Save me atleast ... haha.. kudos to ur simplicity, dear aniket...

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