President’s office only sanctioned repairs to two bungalows; the President defied this

This bungalow in Khadki Cantonment area near Pune was taken over and later demolished

RTI documents reveal an official communication to President Pratibha Patil that new construction is “not the right option’’

In reaction to our report on how President Pratibha Patil has grabbed defence land, far in excess of her entitlement to build a palatial post-retirement residence, we now have further documents and photographs to show how two bungalows was commandeered for the President for demolition and reconstruction.
 
Things began moving when Pratibha Patil opted for Pune as her home after retirement. “The president has expressed her desire to settle down in Pune, Maharashtra on completion of her tenure on 25 July 2012. Keeping that in mind, Bungalow no 38 and 26A which are contagiously located within the Defence Cantonment area on Bombay-Pune Road have been identified.’’

Interestingly, the President’s office in that letter had taken the line that the bungalows should be only repaired and not demolished for construction of a new one, as recently February 1, 2011. However, almost in the same breath it also finds a specious way to justify allocation of property in excess of the eligibility of house accommodation for a President, post-retirement, when the intention was apparently quite different.

A letter written by Dr Christy Fernandez, secretary to the President of India, to home secretary GK Pillai on 11 February 2011 (obtained by activists), states that any new construction is “not the right option as it would not operationally be convenient and aesthetically acceptable.” Hence, the letter suggested that the next bungalow no 26A be used for office purposes.

Closing the door of the property
Army man closing the gate after taking over the property

As per the inspection site report of the Defence Estate Office done on 23 and 24 June 2011, bungalow No 38, which has been acquired, itself has open space of around 3.40 acres which amount to 1.48 lakh odd sq ft.  This by itself exceeds the eligibility criteria of house accommodation for a retired President. According to the home ministry’s rulebook, this should not exceed 4,498 sq ft.
Nevertheless, bungalow No 26A was also requisitioned on the claim that it would be required for office purposes, if No 38 were not demolished. That bungalow, as per the site inspection reports rests on 2.10 acres of land. So the total area allocated to the President is 5.5 acres, which is 2.42 lakh sq ft. That is official now, thanks to documents procured under the RTI Act, from the President's office and the Defence Estate Office in Pune.

Mr Fernandez, a loyal official, makes a case for the President needing more space in the letter to the Mr Pillai with this argument, “The bungalow No 38 does not have adequate space to set up the office and the related facilities required to be provided to a former President. Creating this extra facility in Bungalow No 38 would amount to additional construction to the existing building, which may not be the right option as it would not be operationally convenient and aesthetically acceptable. Hence, the request for using the adjacent vacant building for the purpose of setting up office, etc.’’

The letter continues to reiterate the aspect of repairs. It states, “Special repairs required prior to occupancy of the building and its subsequent regular maintenance and upkeep will have to be undertaken by the Defence establishment itself, as it would be administratively and operationally convenient to do so... It is necessary to take up the matter straightaway since the civil work involved will be time consuming as the building require heavy repairs particularly the one which remains unoccupied.’’

Military personnel removing a tank from the property
Army men removing a tank from the property, that was later found discarded near a road in Khadki

Bungalow No 38 was, until a few months being used as an official accommodation for a military officer. There is nothing wrong if this is given to the President as she or he is entitled to an existing government accommodation. However, it is a mystery how the argument made against demolition of an existing bungalow is used to usurp another one and then both are demolished to start a brand new construction.  The letter from the President’s office, clearly seeks that the bungalow be vacated for repairs: “It is understood that Bungalow No 38 is presently occupied by the Commandant Works, Bombay Engineering Group and Centre (The Bombay Sappers) while Bungalow No 26A is presently lying unoccupied.

The matter was informally discussed with the Defence authorities who are inclined to allow the use of these buildings for the suggested purpose without any change of their ownership. Hence the matter may please be taken up with the Ministry of Defence for timely vacation of the premises to carry out requisite repairs to render them befitting for occupation on completion of the tenure of the President.’’

And so the mystery of the new construction has still to be unravelled. The ownership of one of the two bungalows is also a separate story.

Comments
Sanjay Shukla
10 years ago
Tujhe maloom hai ke Duniya tujhe kya kehti hai,
Haath rakh leti hai kaano pe tere naam ke saath!!!

RATANLAL PUROHIT Saheb, aapki farmaish, sar aankhon par.
Sanjay Shukla
10 years ago
तुझे मालूम है के दुनियाँ तुझे क्या कहती है,

हाथ रख लेती है कानों पे तेरे नाम के साथ.....
Ratanlal Purohit
Replied to Sanjay Shukla comment 10 years ago
Shuklaji Namaskar
Mera durbhagya hai ki mein aapke vicharonse vanchit hoon. Mera Korean Smart Android eMail to leta deta hai par Devnagri mein Nahi. Meri galati maaf karen aur meri karbaddha prarthna ko maanate huye punah apne vichar Roman me bhejane ki kripa kar anugraheet karen.
BHAVDEEYA
RATANLAL PUROHIT
SUBHASH MEHTA
10 years ago
I tried to post this link on my Timeline of Facebook, but got a message that "This message cannot post on your wall". Whether censorship of comments on Facebook has been started?
malq
Replied to SUBHASH MEHTA comment 10 years ago
Thank you for writing in, and I don't think facebook or other social media are censoring this link. Please do try again. It may take a few minutes to show up on your pages though.

If there is still a problem, please let us know . . .

brgds/VM
vs chowdhry
10 years ago
col patil and comm pathak should seek sound legal advice to prevent this land grab. shri bhushan/dr swamy will help willingly as this anti- corruption. going to court seems only answer.
B V KRISHNAN
10 years ago
It is a wonder how a person like Ms Pratibha Patil got elected to the high office of the President of India. It shows that the UPA does not have any regard for this high office, and it is only used for political patronage. If we cant find persons of moral eminence to this august office, why have the post at all? At least future generations can save the money!
vs chowdhry
10 years ago
there is no end to greed by politicos--shows lack of integrity.
malq
10 years ago
Seems like there is no dearth of land grab scams involving the Pune defence lands. Here's one more making waves, though not reported as much, involving the Vice Chief of Army (previous)

http://72.78.249.187/SakaalTimesBeta/201...

What is happening in Pune? And the gentleman is also with BEML/Tatra . . .
K B Patil
10 years ago
A major share of the blame should go to the Congress Party for not choosing the right candidates to this office. This is not the first instance of an undeserving person being made President. You have the previous example of Mr. Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed who signed the "PROCLAMATION OF EMERGENCY" without a murmur. Then we have the example of Mr. Shivraj Patil being made Home Minister and who was more renowned for his sartorial taste than his dynamism. Truly, the Congress wallows in promoting mediocracy and sycophancy. Notice the silence of Rahul Gandhi when serious controversies are plaguing the country. He has not uttered a single word about the Tatra controversy, NCTC, GST, Kudankulam etc. and yet it is almost a certainty that if Congress wins the next general election, Rahul will be the PM. Retaining an air of mystery is best suited to movies, not to politicians who must be transparent.
Rihan
Replied to K B Patil comment 10 years ago
People get the Govt they deserve . Can this be said for India ? I think that this country deserves a more assertive administration , whether Congress or BJP . Let one of the national parties come in absolute majority , so that they can do what they deem fit . If they do not deliver , even after that , then they should be kicked out for ever.
Ratanlal Purohit
Replied to Rihan comment 10 years ago
RIHAN of course. But it is not before the Electoral Reforms that makes choice of Majority possible. Today minority decides who should Rule us. Unfortunately. And Corruption is the way to get elected.
ASSUNDARAM
10 years ago
It is a shame that the Supreme Commander is a thief. She may be procesuted under relevent rules. and sent to jail. also recover the cost of money wasted so far.
Ratanlal Purohit
Replied to ASSUNDARAM comment 10 years ago
Pardon me.
What was your point.
Entitled for
PRESIDENTIAL PARDON
TOO.
IN ADVANCE.
B4 RETRIALMENT.
Samar
10 years ago
Name of the Game, every where is Operation Grab -Govt property, while off or on Duty.
malq
10 years ago
Good Morning!!

As we wake up to another day in Delhi, where this topic has become a fulcrum apparently also for the local MCD elections, I am reminded of a few things. Especially since it is also Dr. Ambedkar Jayanti.

1) Our President solemnly swore, and needs to be reminded that she said this:- """I, Pratibha Devisingh Patil-Shekawat, do swear in the name of God that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the Republic of India, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and the law, and that I will devote myself to the service and well-being of the people of Republic of India".

How much of this does she stand bye for the rest of us, please?

http://indiacode.nic.in/coiweb/welcome.h...

2) Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was and is not from another country. He is from India. There is still hope.

3) The way the rest of the political spectrum has stayed away from the topic has a message somewhere.

4) It is about time somebody explained to the President's son and the rest of the lot that it is "our Armed Forces" and not "the Armed Forces". BIG difference there.

5) It is time for people in India to look around their own villages, towns, cities, and bring more such land-grabs to the attention of those who will do something about it. Write in!!

For now, everybody needs to do their bit. Please step in, distribute and spread this article, help transalate it into regional languages, let people KNOW.

Please also place more RTI applications relevant to the subject with the various public authorities concerned. Let all the government officials who connived here also be brought out into the open.

Hail to the Thief! 420 gun salute for her!!

(Some people objected to my "lack of respect". Others, more like what we call them "common man", have a view that this is overdue. Every which way, the momentum has to continue. )

Veeresh Malik
Ratanlal Purohit
Replied to malq comment 10 years ago
WHY GO FAR LETS TAKE THE CASE OF MET OPP LILAVATI. CC IS LOOKING IN TO ITS MISUSE. IF SOMEBODY WANTS TO PUT HIS NECK OUT LET HIM RTI AS TO HOW HE OR FOR THAT MATTER ANY OTHER POLITICO CHARITABLE TRUSTS. MANY RTI ACTIVISTS HAVE GONE TO THEIR HEAVENLY ABODE AND LEFT NO BODY TO WEEP FOR THEM. THAE AGE OLD SANSKRIT SAYING IS SARVE GUÑA KANCHANMASHRATE HAS ADDED AN URDU WORD. GUNAH. ALL CRIMES ARE COMMITTED BY PERSONS AT HIGH PLACES WITH MONEY BAGS. MORAL FIBRE IS LOOSENED UP. IT REQURES KARODO HAZARE ANNAS.
v r menon
10 years ago
Bravo! to the valiant ex-servicemen, to Vinita Deshmukh and to Moneylife for exposing the glaring example of unethical land grabbing by President Patil. The silence of the mainstream media is shameful. This is a metter which calls for a judicial inquiry.

It is possible that the President's son will next claim that the plan is to gift to Pune and the country a Pratibha Patil Presidential Museum of international artefacts collected by the President and her family in the course of the many international trips. He may then
even suggest that as the first President to leave an enduring legacy, she should be given the Bharat Ratna!
Ratanlal Purohit
Replied to v r menon comment 10 years ago
Not a bad idea. It has been done but was for Nehru Gandhi . I dont know how Kumar is holding JBabuji. But there is enough land for VIPs to GRAB. None for Garib Sipahi who is in mess. Water Water Everywhere Not a Drop to Drink.

V Jayaraman
10 years ago
This President has been a creator of controversies right from her political days. The only thing she has been encashing is that she is a woman. Her husband and her son are used as conduits for doing all the wrong things. It requires sustained and serious efforts to unearth these loots under the garb of high posts. Pratibha Patil is no exception and she is an average woman worth sitting in front of choola and making rotis. You know what happens when politicians get a kick : She is a woman and under the garb of woman empowerment, she got the pot luck and last time, they did with Dr. Abdul Kalam under the garb of Muslim (minority class empowerment). Then when he started questioning too many decisions, he turned untouchable and Dr. Abdul Kalam being a true committed Indian citizen and busiest scientist did not bother to look at the re-election. This President will even lick any place(s), if there is a re-election contemplated for her. Shameful acts.
Ratanlal Purohit
10 years ago
Once a property is occupied it is difficult to get vacant posession back from the occupiers. Interestingly the One who has to give it back after its purpose is over is making unauthorised official comments now. His future comments can be projected now.
We all know that illegal occupiers of slums are rehabitated at Government Expense every five years on regular basis by Political Goons for their CAPTIVE Vote Banks.
KABJA SACHCHA
JHAGDA JHOOTA
NEHRU FAMILY WAS GIVEN INDIA ON PLATTER FOR THE LIFE TIME.
IT IS THEIR PROPERTY.
CAN YOU VACATE IT?
IS A BIGGER QUESTION.
AND WHO DOESN'T KNOW THE BIGGEST BHUKHAND GRABBER.
PUNE AND NEARBY AREA IS GOING TO BE THE NEXT CAPITAL OF NEW PESHWAS WHERE VACANT MALLS ARE NEW WADAS IF ONE CAN 4C IN NEW DIGINGLISH.
THE PRESIDENTIAL PALACE IS GOING TO BE ITS EPICENTRE WITH NEW SAWANTWADI AROUND. AS WOODEN HANDLE IS REQUIRED TO CUT WOOD, A PATIL IS REQUIRED TO CUT THE CREDIBILITY OF ANOTHER PATIL.
LEAVE THE PAID MEDIA ASIDE.
FOR ML IT IS A BIGGER SWOOP THAN H MEHTA.
WILL THE NEXT PREZ CONSIDER HIGHER PADMAS FOR THIS!
MUMBAI ITS COLONY. A CASH
Ratanlal Purohit
Replied to Ratanlal Purohit comment 10 years ago
To continue.
The way things are going
Pune seems to be again a new Peshwai for Maharashtra Politicians and Mumbai their CASH COW.
PLEASE READ SCOOP in place of Swoop in the previous comment.
Jai Hind Jai Maharashtra.
malq
10 years ago
In what appears to be a throwback to the jagir kind of days, Pratibha Patil's son is now making statements on behalf of the President of India that she may return the land if and but and when.

I guess you can see it here:-
http://ibnlive.in.com/videos/248476/grou...

Somehow, this is now moving from disgusting to start with to ridiculous, and without any concern for the dignity of the Armed Forces and the people of the country.

I mean, how does a private citizen, even if he is her son, make official statements on behalf of the President of India??What next, will he also announce foreign policy and decide on mercy petitions??
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