Adarsh scam: Antony orders CBI probe, action in 3 days, Ramesh

Simultaneously, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh turned the heat in the controversy over flat allotments saying he expected some action to be taken by his department against the upscale Adarsh Housing Society in the "next two to three days" for alleged violation of environmental norms.

Antony asked the CBI to 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 the "de facto" possession of the Army.

The probe agency will also investigate into the commitments made for allotment of flats in the 104-apartment society for Kargil widows and martyrs' families. Army Chief Gen. V.K. Singh has already said the Adarsh episode has shamed the Army.

"The Ministry of Defence has asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct a detailed probe into the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society scam and fix responsibility for any lapses," Defence Ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said in a press release.

"Among other things, CBI has been asked to look into the circumstances under which No Objection Certificate (NOC) was issued and possession of the land in question was relinquished even though there was a deficiency of land for Army purposes in Mumbai.

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

Former Army Chiefs General Deepak Kapoor and General N C Vij, apart from former Navy Chief Admiral Madhavendra Singh had flats allotted in their names in the housing society that had promised to provision apartments for families of Kargil martyrs. The three former chiefs have since said they will surrender the flats.

Ramesh said that on the basis of the evidence that the Centre has got so far it was very clear that neither the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority(MCZMA) nor the state's Department of Environment gave any clearance for the high-rise building.

"However, we have to see what the Urban Development department did. And once we have these papers I expect some action will be initiated by us in the next 2-3 days," Ramesh told reporters.

The Minister said the state Urban Development department is not authorised to give clearance. "Let's see what they say in their reply," he added.

Soon after the scam came to light, the Defence Ministry had asked the Army, Navy and the Defence Estates to submit a report on the issue.

The preliminary findings of the ministry's probe brought out "criminal conspiracy" at the local level in Army and Defence Estates to alienate the land, which was in Army's possession till 1999-2000, in favour of the Housing Society.

Also, over 40 officers from the armed forces and Defence Estates too had got flats allotted in the society.

Comments (+)