Army yet to get its 44% share of 8A,Lothian Road

Even as the CBI continues to probe Lt Gen (retd) Noble Thamburaj’s role in his alleged out-of-court settlement with a builder in 2008-09 pertaining to construction of a commercial complex at 8 A,Lothian Road,almost half of this plot earmarked for accommodation of married Army officers has yet to be returned to the Army despite a court order.

Written by Pranav Kulkarni | Published: August 26, 2012 5:07:09 am

Even as the CBI continues to probe Lt Gen (retd) Noble Thamburaj’s role in his alleged out-of-court settlement with a builder in 2008-09 pertaining to construction of a commercial complex at 8 A,Lothian Road,almost half of this plot earmarked for accommodation of married Army officers has yet to be returned to the Army despite a court order.

“We have not yet got hold of constructions on the reserved 44 per cent area of the plot. It was to be returned to the Army by the builder for accommodation of married officers,” an Army official said on condition of anonymity. In fact,accommodation for married officers had to be given elsewhere on a three-year contract,said the official.

8A,Lothian Road (GLR survey No- 241-A) measuring 0.968 acres was held on lease for an initial period of 30 years from August 1,1946 and was renewable up to 90 years. The lease is valid up to July 31,2036.

The case found special mention in the 15th report of the Standing Committee on Defence presented in the Lok Sabha on April 30 which stated,“The lease was granted for dwelling houses and shops. The lease rights to the land were transferred by HOR (Holder of Occupancy Rights) to M/s Kalpataru Builders,Mumbai. Kalpataru builders applied for sanction to construct commercial/ residential accommodation. Army authorities insisted on reservation of property on the basis of 56 per cent for commercial purpose and 44 per cent for residential purpose,with residential accommodation to be offered for married officers’ accommodation.”

Kalptaru Builders had approached the High Court against the 44 per cent reservation for Army officers’ residential accommodation and the HC in September 2005 ruled in the Army’s favour. Kalptaru Builders’ appeal in the Supreme Court was dismissed in December 2009.

In September 2006,the then Defence Estates Officer (DEO) S R Nayyar filed an affidavit in the Bombay High Court in connection with a dispute about a land on Lothian Road in Pune Camp. The affidavit brought 8A,Lothian Road back into litigation. “In 2008,M/s Kalptaru Builders filed a writ petition in the Bombay High Court to claim the said 44 per cent land. At this point,the then GOC-in-C Southern Command and later VCOAS Lt. Gen Nobel Thamburaj,is alleged to have entered into an ‘out-of-court settlement’ with M/s Kalptaru Builders,” the report states.

When this reporter called M/s Kalpataru Builder,the call was directed to their head office in Mumbai. An e-mail to their communications person was not replied to. Another official of Kalpataru refused to comment saying,“I joined recently. I do not know about the issue.”

DEO G S Rajeswaran said,“The matter is not handled by the DEO.”

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