President Pratibha Patil has decided to let go a land allotted to her under president retirement scheme by the government of India, following defence land grab allegations.
A statement issued by the President's Office on Friday announced the decision of Patil to give up the land allotted to her in Pune. "It was expected that once the facts were made public it would convince the concerned people. But despite clarifications given by the President's Secretariat, it is unfortunate that the misgivings continue to persist," the statement said.
Patil landed in a row after an RTI application revealed that she had been allotted over five acres of land in Pune, which is meant for Territorial Army cadets. The bungalow was supposed to be occupied by Patil when her term ends in July.
A group of former Army personnel, who initiated a protest against this alleged allotment of defence land to the President based on an RTI revelation, hailed it as victory.
Ever since the RTI revelation stirred the defence land grab controversy, the President's Office has been denying the issue, terming it as "factually incorrect and malicious."
In its earlier statement over the defence land encroachment, the President's Office said that there was no substance of illegality in the allegation, as the President did not enjoy the ownership but would 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," the President of India's Secretariat's note read.