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CAG Slams Army Officials For Adarsh Housing Scam

PTI 10 Aug 2011, 13:28:00 IST
PTI

New Delhi, Aug 9: Slamming military authorities for misappropriating prime defence land for the Adarsh housing society, the CAG has said rules were bent to benefit relatives of politicians, public servants and senior Service officers including former Army chiefs Gen Deepak Kapoor and N C Vij.  

In a report tabled in Lok Sabha today, the Government auditor also targeted the Union Environment Ministry and the Maharashtra Urban Development Ministry saying indications were there that procedures were skirted to enable grant of No-Objection Certificate (NOC) to the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society (ACHS) in Mumbai.

The CAG said welfare of servicemen and ex-servicemen was used as a ruse to grab piece of public land for the Society. It said the entire episode reveals “glaring examples of dereliction of duty and severe lack of probity and accountability which needs to be seriously investigated.

“Action of the Local Military Authorities acting in collusion with Defence Estates Organisation (DEO) enabled misappropriation of prime government land in Mumbai for the benefit of a select few,” it said.

The report said these officials were “responsible for protection of defence land and they betrayed the trust reposed in them for the personal benefit of a number of favoured individuals- all of whom are highly placed.”

The auditor pointed out that the membership of the society kept expanding where “junior service and civilian officers went out of the society and many senior service officers and public servants became members.”

“Notable among Service officers who became members of the society at a later date were two former Army Chiefs General N C Vij and Deepak Kapoor,” it said.

The CAG said the two Generals were allowed to be members of the Society as “one time special case” in view of their service to the Army and special status in the society.

“In the name of welfare of servicemen and ex-servicemen, it was the select elite belonging to Services and civil administration, politicians and individuals connected with them who benefited from this misappropriation of public property,” it said.

The membership of the society in 2000 was 40 and reached 102 in 2010. Some of the significant members include Admiral Madhavendra Singh, Lt Gen G S Sihota, Rear Admiral R P Suthan.

Highlighting the role of Maharashtra Government and Environment and Forest Ministry in the episode, the CAG said, “They aided and abetted by relaxing regulations and turning a blind eye to construction of a 31-storey building in heart of Mumbai not far from Mantralaya.”

The CAG said the Environment Ministry certainly “either failed or consciously decided” not to apprise the state government of the extant provisions of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notifications.

The CAG observed that in its communications with the state and central governments to seek concessions, the ACHS described its members as those “who have dedicated their lives for the motherland” and “heroes of Kargil war”.

The auditor said those in positions of responsibility should have sensed that the concept of the Society was “flawed as very few war widows or ex-servicemen would have had the financial capacity to pay for an apartment at such prime locality.” PTI