July 12th, 2017
A high-level inquiry committee appointed by the Defence Ministry has named two former army chiefs – General NC Vij and Deepak Kapoor, including several other retired military officials for their alleged involvement in the 2010 Adarsh Housing Scam in Mumbai.
Three retired lieutenant generals named GS Sihota, Tejinder Singh and Shantanu Choudhary along with four major generals named AR Kumar, VS Yadav, TK Kaul and RK Hooda have also been mentioned in the probe panel in its over 100-page report, citing a range of violations and irregularities.
What was the Adarsh Housing Scam?
As reported by The Hindu, the Adarsh housing society, a 31-storey apartment complex located in a posh area in south Mumbai was meant for the families who lost their spouses in the Kargil war. However, several bureaucrats, top politicians, and military officers became the owners of apartments in the complex.
When the scam emerged in 2010, the then Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, whose relatives too had apartments in the complex, was forced to resign and multiple inquiries ensued.
The Bombay High Court in 2016 had directed the demolition of the society which was later stayed by the Supreme Court when the Army had recommended demolition of the building citing security concerns.
The 199-page inquiry report reads that the government should take appropriate administrative measures against those involved in the scam.
As reported by Livemint, people who were quite familiar with the issue claimed that the defence ministry report was a validation of the findings of a court of inquiry by the Army in 2011 which probed the roles of a number of military officials in the scam.
As per those findings, Gen Vij was held responsible for providing a “protective umbrella” towards efforts in facilitating the “alienation of the land in question”. It revealed that as the army commander, he had not raised a single question at any stage of the said matter nor had he identified any security concerns during the annual security review.
As per the reports, Gen Kapoor was not directly connected with the case. He was not “well advised” in accepting a membership of the society, adding that it did not seem that he had adequately weighed the implications of accepting a flat in the complex.
Since the 31-storey building has overlooked several of its key installations, the Indian Navy had raised security concerns over the issue.
A number of other senior military officials who had been found guilty in the scam by the defence ministry was directed not to be engaged in any employment or services by the government.
Madhavendra Singh, the Former Navy chief Admiral, is also said to be involved in the scam. The report implied that though he was not involved in the scam, he was not eligible to become a member of the housing society as he gave a misleading undertaking stating that he did not own any house in Mumbai.
According to the findings, almost all the military officials who have been found guilty in the scam were given flats in the complex.
On 9 December 2010, the then Defence Minister AK Antony had directed a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to fix responsibility among armed forces and defence estates officers in the scam.
They were also asked to look into the commitments made for the allocation of flats in the housing society for Kargil war widows and families of martyrs.
Although the land was under the control of Army and defence estates till 1999-2000, the criminal conspiracy brought out by the ministry’s probe had directed them to give up the land respectively.
The Logical Indian hopes that the people involved in the scam are rightly brought to justice by the government.