Didn't think Adarsh would be security threat: Ex Army Chief

Taking a stand at variance with that of Defence Ministry, Former Army Chief Deepak Kapoor today told a judicial panel probing the Adarsh Society scam that he didn't think the high-rise would be a security threat due to its proximity to a military station.

"It did not occur to me that the building would pose a security threat, because there are number of buildings of similar height in the area (south Mumbai)," General Kapoor said, deposing before the two-member commission here.

Ministry of Defence, in a pending petition in the Bombay High Court, has sought demolition of the 31-storey plush building in upscale Colaba, saying it poses a threat.

Kapoor, who retired as Chief of Army Staff in March 2010, had applied for membership of the society in 2005 and was allotted a flat. He surrendered the flat in October 2010 after the scam surfaced.

"I am aware that the site of Adarsh building is in vicinity of army area in Colaba. But I did not find out whether construction of a high-rise building so close to army installation would be a security threat," Kapoor said.

When asked by Commission member P Subrahmanyam whether it occurred to him that in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, a high-rise near a military station would enhance the security threat, Kapoor said: "There are large number of tall structures both in the vicinity of Adarsh building and Colaba military station.

It was for the authority which has the power to give clearances for construction to decide whether any threat was being posed by Adarsh."

According to Kapoor, a number of aspects have to be looked into before a building can be classified as a security threat.

"The height of the building, proximity to a sensitive area and ability to overlook into the sensitive area needs to be considered. It is the local military authority which would be in the best position to consider all these aspects and make recommendations," he said.

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