New revelations before the Adarsh commission on Wednesday have put the focus on senior army officials for remaining silent as the building came up and, shockingly, even providing false information to the Parliament.
“All officers who had decision-making authority with respect to the (Adarsh) land in Mumbai from 1999 till July 2010 were members of the society,” said Brigadier Deepak Saxena during his cross examination by senior advocate Dipan Merchant, counsel for the commission.
Brigadier Saxena’s testimony raises questions on the conduct of top army officials in Mumbai, who failed to act even as the land on which the military had built an eco-park was given to Adarsh by the state government and a building came up. Saxena pointed fingers at the General Officer-in-Commanding (GOC), who he said was the “highest authority in Mumbai who was responsible for protecting defence lands and its security”.
“Despite the names of the officers being known, the defence ministry has not initiated any action against them,” admitted Brigadier Saxena.
Months before the state government awarded land to Adarsh, there was a starred question in the Parliament, seeking status of the plot. The Army headquarters in its reply in December 2003 stated that the “land has never been/ is not under the occupation of the Army”.
Following a question put to him by senior advocate A J Rana and Aniket Nikam, Brigadier Saxena said that the “reply was not correct”. Saxena said that though Brigadier Parvinder Singh, who gave the reply, was not allotted a flat in Adarsh, “his immediate superior, Lieutenant General G S Sihota, is a member of Adarsh society”. This reply was based on information given by Army headquarters in Mumbai and the then GOC was Major General T K Kaul, who too was allotted a flat in Adarsh, said Brigadier Saxena.
The defence’s silence was galling. “The ministry of defence was aware of the fact that a building was going to come up on the land in question and yet they did not file any suit for injunction restraining Adarsh society from making any construction,” said Brigadier Saxena.
Advocate Merchant also pointed to letters written in connection with the question in the Parliament, which mentioned that the land does not belong to defence but to the state government.
Brigadier Saxena admitted that till the scam broke out in 2010, the army had never contested the letters.
-via The Times of India