Mumbai defence land scam: CBI steps in

The CBI is investigating how defence land was transferred to the Adarsh co-operative housing society.

Mumbai: The CBI is investigating how defence land was transferred to the Adarsh co-operative housing society and how the beneficiaries, including former services chiefs, politicians and bureaucrats, raised money to buy apartments meant for Kargil war heroes and their families.

The agency, which had begun its probe into the row in early October, has sought documents relating to the society.

Former Army chiefs Generals NC Vij and Deepak Kapoor, ex-Navy chief Admiral Madhavendra Singh, former Army Vice Chief Lt Gen Shantanu Chowdhary, former Union Minister and Shiv Sena MP Suresh Prabhu are among those who have been
alloted flats in the 31-storey building in upscale Colaba area.

"We had sought all documents pertaining to the society from the city collector, society`s general secretary and authorities of the Indian Navy and Army in early October," a
senior CBI official said.

"While we have received around 4000-page documents from the collector`s office, there has been no response from the other concerned agencies," the official said.

The documents were sought following a specific complaint of irregularities, the official said, adding a deadline of one week has been given to the society to submit
the documents failing which the agency would proceed with the investigation in accordance with law.

The plush housing society, built on prime defence land, has been constructed in alleged violation of rules.

The building was originally meant to be a six-storey structure to house Kargil war heroes and widows.

"We are going through the documents provided by the collector`s office and further course of action would be decided later," the official said.

The agency is trying to ascertain how the defence land was transferred to co-operative housing society and how the beneficiaries, including government servants, raised money to buy the apartments.

"A 1000-square foot apartment in the society would have cost around Rs 70 lakh in 2004. We will find out how individual beneficiaries arranged the funds," the official

Army yesterday said it was carrying out an inquiry into Mumbai`s Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society row.

"As far as we are concerned, the inquiry is on and I would not like to comment beyond this as it may hamper the inquiry," Army Chief General VK Singh had said yesterday.

Defence Minister AK Antony had said the government was "seriously examining" the matter.

The Navy has objected to Maharashtra government according permission for Occupation Certificate citing serious security concerns.

The 100-metre tall building next to a planned helipad and military installations has violated the CRZ limit of a height of 30 metres, the Navy had said.