Captain (retd) Praveen Kumar, while deposing before the two-member inquiry commission yesterday, revealed that he had migrated to New Zealand in 2003 and became a citizen of that country four years later.
According to Kumar, he had sought membership to the Adarsh society in 2008. On December 8, 2008 he wrote a letter to the Mumbai collector giving details of his income and address.
"In the letter, I had given my address as 20/B Sheetal Apartments, Ghatkopar. I had taken this room on rent. But in fact I sent the letter from New Zealand," Kumar said.
Asked by the commission counsel Dipan Merchant why he concealed the fact that he was a resident of New Zealand, Kumar passed the buck to the society's chief secretary and an accused in the case, R C Thakur.
"I did not mention my New Zealand address in the letter because Thakur told me I should maintain my address in Mumbai to make my case stronger. At no point I informed the collector that I had shifted to New Zealand," Kumar said.
According to the retired officer, the tehsildar's office issued him the domicile certificate in 2010 mentioning that he was a resident of Maharashtra, and in September 2010, the then Mumbai Collector approved his membership in Adarsh.
Kumar, who retired from the Indian Navy in 1996, further said he did not mention the fact that he was a citizen of New Zealand either in his application seeking membership or in the affidavit filed with the collector.
Kumar was allotted a two-BHK flat in the high-rise.The two-member judicial panel, which has already ruled that the land on which the 31-storey building stands belongs to the Maharashtra government, is now probing whether bureaucrats had flouted rules while granting permissions and approving memberships to the society.