Adarsh probe: Defence officials compromised on security threat

Mumbai: Several Defence Ministry officials, who had vested interests in the Adarsh Housing Society scam, had compromised on the security threat from the high-rise building in upscale south Mumbai, a Brigadier from the Army's state headquarters here said.

"Senior officials like retired Major General TK Kaul and AR Kumar and several others were interested parties in the Adarsh Society and hence compromised their stand on the security threat faced by the Army due to the construction of the building," Brigadier Deepak Saxena, from the Army's Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa Headquarters, told the two-member inquiry commission here.

The Brigadier told the commission that he would submit tomorrow a list of the officers who misused their official position to favour Adarsh Society.

The commission, set up by Maharashtra government to probe the Adarsh scam, was recording the evidence of Saxena, the first witness, regarding ownership of the land where the 31-storey building stands.

Referring to a letter dated September 30, 2004 signed by Colonel BK Sinha to the Defence headquarters in Delhi stating there was no security risk to the Army because of the Adarsh building, Saxena said, "Sinha had no vested interest but he had written that letter at the behest of his senior officer Major General TK Kaul."

Kaul, who has been named as an accused by the CBI, was in 2004 the General Officer in Command (GOC) of the state Army headquarters. Sinha had issued the letter in response to a query raised by Defence headquarters regarding the security threat due to the building.

Saxena also pointed out to a 'No Objection letter' issued by Colonel SS Joe on April 5, 2000 allegedly at the behest of major general AR Kumar, who was the then GOC.

"Kumar is a member of the Adarsh Society and his son has a flat there. He has also been named as an accused by the CBI," the Brigadier said.

He, however, said that the Defence Ministry had not taken any action despite being aware of the construction of a high rise building on their land since 2004.

Senior public prosecutor Dipan Merchant, while cross-examining Saxena, pointed out several loopholes in the Defence Ministry's claim to ownership of the land.

"In 1968, Military Estate Officer PM Dudhani had written a letter to the Mumbai Collector stating that Block 6, the plot where Adarsh building stands, was never given to the Army by the state government," Merchant said.

Saxena told the commission he would verify this letter and give his reply on Wednesday.