NEW DELHI: The multi-crore Adarsh Society scam reverberated at the Army commanders’ conference on Thursday, with Army chief Gen V K Singh asking his top brass to guard against such controversies in areas under their jurisdiction and ensure the image of the Army is not further tarred.The scam over senior officers and influential persons owning apartments in the controversial Adarsh Housing Society in Colaba saw Gen Singh departing from his scripted interaction and underlining that the Army cannot afford more such debacles that would erode public trust in the institution.The Army chief told senior commanders that “they have to ensure no such controversies erupt in their respective areas”, sources said. The heads of the army commands and principal staff officers – who are the senior most Lt Generals of the Army – are attending the biannual commanders’ conference.While Gen Singh read out a warning to senior officers, the Army is understood to have replied to questions raised by the defence ministry about the 31-storey highrise, built in the name of war widows on land that was in the custody of the Army. These apartments were allotted to several senior military officers, including two former army chiefs and a navy chief, several other senior Generals and Admirals, senior bureaucrats and political leaders at a fraction of the market price.Sources said the Army had responded that the complex was occupying land that was in its custody, and ownership of which was to be transferred to it, in exchange for land that the Army gave up in another location. The Army reiterated that the complex was a security threat, in its reply to the defence ministry.While the ministry said it had sent its query to naval headquarters as well on Wednesday, naval officials informally insisted that they were yet to recieve any communication from the MoD.
With the Army reply in hand, MoD will now have to decide on the Army’s recommendation for probe by the CBI. The agency is already investigating the case based on civilian complaints. If the MoD decides on a CBI probe, then the scope of its investigation would further broaden. The military top brass is also discussing the possibility of invoking the Defence of India Rules, an extraordinary legislation that empowers the Centre to act in the security interest of the country – TOI