Pratibha Patil
Indian President, Pratibha PatilPIB

The President of India's Secretariat in a statement on Thursday rubbished all the allegations against President Pratibha Patil over a land row, terming it as "factually incorrect and malicious."

President Pratibha Patil landed up in a row after a RTI application revealed that she had been allotted over five acres of land in Pune, which is meant for Territorial Army cadets, under the President post-retirement scheme.

A group of former Army personnel in Pune protested this as they speculated procedural lapses involved in allotting land to the President.

Responding to the media reports and defence personnel's allegations, President's office said, "Certain media have been claiming that the President Patil has "grabbed" land much in excess of her entitlement to build her post retirement home in Pune, which is factually incorrect and malicious."

The Secretariat added that there is no substance of illegality in the allegation, as the President do not enjoy the ownership but will only reside in house and land allotted to her. "The land belongs to the Ministry of Defence and will continue to remain with the Ministry of Defence. The land and the house she will be occupying will continue to remain vested in the government."

Commenting on the allegation that size of the land allotted to the President is exceeding than what she is eligible for, the statement said," The mention of living area not exceeding 2000 sq. ft. is only indicative and applicable where a suitable government residence is not available and a residence is to be taken on lease/rent basis, which does not apply in the present case, since the President will be occupying a government accommodation."

The President's office also rejected that a bungalow is being built on the controversial-defence land for occupation by Pratibha Patil. The statement noted that the allotted residence in Pune was earlier occupied by an officer at the level of a Lt. Colonel.

"The house being old, needed renovation to make it suitable for residential purposes and accordingly certain additions/modifications have been taken up to suit the requirements of the President on demission of office," said the President's office.

"Surely, the city of Pune and surrounding areas have enough alternative land available for army personnel accommodation," said an official statement.

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