New Delhi: President Pratibha Patil, who has recently come at the centre of a controversy over her post-retirement home in Pune, on Friday decided to give up the controversial plot back to the government.
"...Considering the fact that the issue has got linked with the issue of war widows accommodation by some people, the President has chosen to forego the aforesaid allotment of accommodation proposed to be made to her as her post-retirement home in Pune," the Rashtrapati Bhavan said in a statement.
While the statement referred to Pune accommodation, there was no clarity as to what the President would do about her post-retirement plans.
Rashtrapati Bhavan sources said today`s decision is about what was occupying her mind. She will decide in due course as to what has to be done, they said.
"Hope this will put an end to all misgivings in this regard," the statement said seeking to bring to an end the controversy over the land that was to be her home in Khadki cantonment in Pune.
The controversy about President Pratibha Patil’s post-retirement home erupted after an organisation of ex-servicemen in Pune 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, claimed that a large extent of land measuring over 2.60 lakh square feet had been allotted to her in Khadki cantonment in Pune.
He claimed that a house with a plinth area of 4,500 square feet was 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.
He further alleged that the bungalow was being built on the defence land violating norms.
However, Rashtrapati Bhavan then maintained 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 President.
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.