Defence Ministry to take 'balanced view' on MoEF demolition order

Defence Ministry to take 'balanced view' on MoEF demolition order

"I don't want to comment on the views of others but I would say that a balanced view would be taken in the Ministry. ....I can't comment on the future of the building but a view will be taken in best interest of everybody," Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju told reporters here.

He was responding to queries about the future of the building in view of the Environment Ministry's recent recommendation.

The CBI is also likely to give its recommendations as to whether the building constructed next to a sensitive naval base is a security threat and whether it should be demolished or given to the Defence Ministry for public use.The CBI probe into scam was recommended by the Ministry after it emerged that flats were alloted to several senior serving and retired military personnel including three former Service chiefs.
On Sunday, the Environment Ministry recommended that the 31-storey building should be demolished within three months as the project in Mumbai's upmarket Colaba was "unauthorised" and violated the spirit of coastal regulations.

The Environment Ministry in its final orders on the controversial building, in which flats were doled out to politicians, top defence personnel and bureaucrats as well as their kin, had said, "The unauthorised structure built... should be removed in its entirety and the area restored to its original condition."

Asked if the Defence Ministry would recommend a CBI probe in the Kandivali land scam, Raju said, "If the Army Command has recommended a CBI probe, then I think probably the Ministry will follow the advice."

In his report, Southern Army Commander Lt Gen Pradeep Khanna has said that a plot of land in Kandivali-Malad area in Mumbai, which was with Army on lease, was sold "illegally" to a private builder in 2007 at the intervention of Inderjit Singh and Gen Deepak Kapoor.

The land in question belongs to the state government and had been on rent with the Central Ordnance Depot since 1942.

On the issue of China issuing stapled visas to residents of Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, the Minister said, "It is unacceptable to us."