Mumbai: After Deepak Kapoor, another former Army Chief N C Vij on Wednesday took a stand at variance with the Defence Ministry when he said he did not see the controversial Adarsh Society building here as a security threat.
Gen Vij told a judicial panel that what mattered were credentials of occupants, not the 31-storey building itself.
"I visited Adarsh building only for a few minutes. I did not consider the security aspect....It is not the building but the occupants who have to be scrutinised from security angle. If the occupants are trustworthy and dependable, then there is no question of security threat," Vij told the two-member commission set up by Maharashtra government to probe the Adarsh scam.
Earlier, Gen Kapoor had told the commission that he did not consider Adarsh -- which stands very close to a Defence premises -- as security threat, because there were several other high-rises in the area.
The stand taken by Vij and Kapoor is in sharp contrast to Ministry of Defence`s claim that the highrise building in upscale Colaba is a security threat, and should be pulled down.
"As far as security threat aspect is concerned, it requires detailed appreciation of a number of factors like the population profile of cantonment, how many civilians and military personnel are there, the layout of the general area, the vulnerable targets and the surrounding area profile. This has to be done by the Local Military Authority," said Vij.
Soon after the scam broke, he learnt that several personnel of Local Military Authority and Southern Command were members of Adarsh Society, Vij said.
Both Kapoor and Vij were members of the society, and later sought to surrender their flats when allegations about illegal permissions granted to Adarsh by civic/state authorities cropped up.
"I have written letters to the society and Collector of Mumbai seeking to surrender my flat, but I have not got any reply," Vij said.