Mumbai: Terming as "illegal and bad in law" the Ministry of Defence`s notice claiming ownership of the land on which the controversial Adarsh building stands, the housing society on Thursday said it is being targeted at the behest of high-ranking officials who did not get membership.
The Adarsh society also said the notice was "without power" as it was sent by General officer Commanding of Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat who was not the competent authority for such purposes.
"The Ministry of Defence has issued a notice now just to harass the society and with an ulterior motive to stake claim on the ownership of the property.
"Some high-ranking officers of the defence ministry want to settle scores with the members of the Adarsh society as they could not get membership in the society," the society said in a strongly-worded reply.
The notice was issued by MoD on May 28 this year to the Maharashtra government and Adarsh society asking them to hand over possession of the land in south Mumbai to it. The notice demanded the state government acknowledge the Ministry of Defence`s title and ownership of the plot within two months failing which it would file a civil title suit.
While the state government is yet to send its reply to MoD, the society today sent it through advocate Manish Desai stating that the land was allotted to Adarsh following due process of law and claiming no fraud was committed by the state government.
Raising issue of jurisdiction, the society said such notices can be sent only by the Defence Estates Office of the MoD which deals with matters pertaining to lands in custody of defence ministry.
"However, this notice has been sent by the General Officer Commanding of Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat Area, who is not a competent authority. The said notice has been sent without power and without sanction from the Ministry of Defence," it said.
Claiming that the notice was issued as an "after thought
with mala fide intentions to defame the society members", the reply said, "Assuming without admitting that the defence ministry had some king of right over the land, it slept over its right for the past 12 years.
"Had the ministry been really keen on keeping its right alive it could have done before the land was allotted to the society," it said.
The reply noted that several defence personnel appeared before the judicial commission probing the alleged scam and produced documentary evidence in relation to the title of the land.
"After perusing all the evidence and hearing arguments advanced by all counsels including the MoD counsel, the judicial commission came to the conclusion that the land belongs to the state government and not the Ministry of Defence," the reply said.
On MoD`s threat that it would file a civil suit in the Bombay High Court if possession of the land was not handed over within two months, the society cited law of limitation to claim now only the Supreme Court had jurisdiction to hear such a suit.