Antony orders CBI probe into Adarsh housing scam (Second Lead)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

NEW DELHI - Defence Minister A.K. Antony Tuesday ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the Adarsh housing society scam, allegedly involving top politicians, bureaucrats and former service chiefs, and asked the agency to “fix responsibility or any lapses”.

A CBI probe has been ordered and the investigating agency will take over soon,” defence ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar told IANS.

Kar said the defence minister has asked the CBI to conduct a detailed probe and fix responsibility or any lapses.

Apart from fixing responsibility of the armed forces and defence estates officers in the scam, the investigating agency will look into the circumstances under which a No Objection Certificate was issued to the housing society to construct the 31-storey building on a piece of land, which was in “de facto” possession of the army.

“The CBI has been asked to look into the circumstances under which NOC was issued and possession of the land in question was relinquished even though there was deficiency of land for army purposes in Mumbai, he said.

The scam, which Army Chief Gen. V.K. Singh said has shamed the army, relates to the controversial residential block being built in Mumbai’s upscale Colaba and in the neighbourhood of naval establishment. It was originally meant to be a six-storeyed apartment block for housing Kargil war heroes and widows.

However, it was surreptitiously converted into a plush 31-storeyed building and has over 100 members, including former service chiefs, senior serving army officials, bureaucrats, politicians and their kin, and in at least one case even a politician’s driver.

The CBI will also probe the extent to which the commitments for welfare of war widows/service personnel were complied with, Kar said.

The order for CBI probe comes after Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, whose relatives had got flats in the Adarsh society, resigned over the issue Tuesday.

The scam came to light after Western Naval commander Admiral Sanjeev Bhasin sent a letter to the Delhi-based Army Headquarters and the defence ministry seeking action against the building for posing a threat to military installations in Mumbai.

As the skeletons tumbled out, it also came to light that former army chiefs General Deepak Kapoor and General N.C. Vij, apart from former navy chief Admiral Madhavendra Singh had flats allotted in their name in the society.

Some 40 officers from the armed forces and defence estates have also got houses allotted for their families.

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