CAG auditing role of armed forces in Adarsh scam

CAG has started an audit into the role of armed forces, Coast Guard and Colaba administration.

Last Updated: Apr 03, 2011, 12:21 PM IST

New Delhi: Government auditor CAG has started
comprehensive audit into the role of armed forces, Coast Guard
and Colaba administration in land allotment to the
scam-tainted Adarsh Housing Society.

The land allotment to 31-storey highrise in Colaba,
Mumbai, has come under scrutiny of the Comptroller and Auditor
General (CAG), which would look into the land management by
the defence department, official sources said.

While the CAG had initially planned to audit only the
role of Army in the Adarsh Housing Land, it later decided to
expand the scope of audit to include the Navy, the Air Force,
the Coast Guard, civil administration, role of Chief Minister
and District Magistrate in sanctioning the plot, they added.

A controversy had erupted last year over how the Adarsh
Housing Society, originally meant to be a six-storey structure
to house Kargil war heroes and widows, got converted into a
31-storey tower.

Several political leaders, bureaucrats, military brass,
including former Army chiefs Deepak Kapoor and NC Vij, and
former Navy chief Madhavendra Singh had flats allotted in
their names in the housing society at a throwaway price.

The controversy fundamentally hinges around whether the
plot of land belonged to the Army or to the state government.

The 104-apartment society got embroiled in a controversy
after the Navy had raised concerns over security as the
building over-looked important military installations.

On December 9 last year, Defence Minister AK Antony had
ordered a CBI probe to fix responsibility of the armed forces
and defence estates officers in the housing scam.

He had asked the CBI to look into the circumstances under
which a `No Objection Certificate` was issued to the housing
society to construct the 31-storey building on a piece of
land, which was in the "de facto" possession of the Army.

The probe agency was also asked to investigate into the
commitments made for allotment of flats in the society for
Kargil widows and martyrs` families.

Soon after the scam came to light, the Defence Ministry
had asked the Army, the Navy and the defence estates to submit
a report on the issue.

The preliminary findings of the ministry`s probe brought
out "criminal conspiracy" at the local level in Army and
defence estates to give up the land, which was in Army`s
possession till 1999-2000, in favour of the housing society.

The CAG in its latest report on Defence Estates Management
had pointed out that there were "large scale discrepancies" in
land records which could result in further "encroachments and
land grabs" on properties of the Defence Ministry.

It said the Defence Ministry did not have a centralised
record of land under its possession which leads to misuse of
government land by private builders.

PTI