Prez in another row over post-retirement home

President Pratibha Patil was at the centre of yet another controversy over her post-retirement home in Pune. President Pratibha Patil

New Delhi: President Pratibha Patil was at
the centre of yet another controversy over her post-retirement
home in Pune.

An organisation of ex-servicemen in Pune has alleged that
over fives acres of land had been allotted for purpose of her
residence after she demits office later in July this year when
her five-year term ends.

Suresh Patil, a retired Lt Col of the Pune-based `Justice
for Jawan`, part of NGO `Green Thumb` group, who has accessed
details about the Government`s measures for providing her
housing in Pune, claims that a large extent of land measuring
over 2.60 lakh square feet has been alloted to her in Khadki
cantonment in Pune.

He claims that a house with a plinth area of 4,500 square
feet is being built for her by bringing down two British-era
county bungalows.

The former Army official questioned why such a large
extent of land was being fenced to protect this house for
Pratibha Patil, who recently made news when an RTI application
brought out the fact that over Rs 205 crore were spent on her
foreign travels.

However, Rashtrapati Bhavan maintains that there has been
no wrong doing or violation of rules. All rules were being
strictly adhered to for a post-retirement house for the

Under rules, a former President is entitled to a
furnished bungalow anywhere in India of his or her choice. In
places where government accommodation is available, it should
be comparable to the highest type of residence available to
the Union Ministers.

Where it is not available, the size of residence should
not exceed 4,500 square feet with a living area not exceeding
2,000 square feet. The privilege is extended to the spouse
after the death of the President or a former President.

Col Patil said that he had sent several RTI applications
to the Army`s Southern Command seeking reasons for fencing the
entire five acre land with a wall but failed to get any

Reacting to the allegations, Rashtrapati Bhavan
spokesperson Archana Datta said "the land in question is a
defence land. The question of transfer of land to any
individual does not arise."

She said the house will remain with the President till
her life time and go back to the defence.

Asked about the new construction being undertaken at the
site, she said "It was not a vacant land and there is no new
construction taking place. Its only a renovation."

To a question about the allegation that around five acres
of land had been fenced for the President`s house, the
spokesperson said that Ministry of Defence would be an
appropriate authority to reply on this. "I maintain that no
rules have been violated."


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