Stung by the Adarsh Housing Society scam in Mumbai, Defence Minister A K Antony on Tuesday recommended a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation to fix responsibility of the armed forces and defence estates officers in the episode.
He also 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 will also investigate the commitments made for allotment of flats in the 104-apartment society, which was meant for Kargil widows and martyrs' families.
The CBI probe comes after Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, whose family members were allotted flats in Adarsh Society, resigned over his alleged involvement in the scam.
"The ministry of defence has asked the Central Bureau of Investigation to conduct a detailed probe into the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society scam and fix responsibility for any lapses," defence ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said in a press release.
"Among other things, the CBI has been asked to look into the circumstances under which the No Objection Certificate was issued and possession of the land in question was relinquished, even though there was a deficiency of land for Army purposes in Mumbai. The CBI will also probe the extent to which the commitments for welfare of war widows/service personnel were complied with," he said.
The scam came to light after Western Naval Commander Admiral Sanjeev Bhasin shot off a letter to the army headquarters and the defence ministry, seeking action against the building for posing a security threat to military installations. The 6490-sqmt land was within the security perimeter of the naval base in the upscale Colaba region of south Mumbai, Admiral Bhasin had noted in his letter.
However, it also came to light that former army chiefs General Deepak Kapoor and General N C Vij, apart from former navy chief Admiral Madhavendra Singh too had flats allotted in their name in the housing society that had promised to provision apartments for families of Kargil martyrs. Soon after the scam hit headlines, the defence ministry asked the army, 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 alienate the land, which was in the army's possession till 2000, in favour of the housing society.
Also, over 40 officers from the armed forces and defence estates too had got flats allotted in the society.