Thursday, March 24, 2011

Army probe faults 10 top officers in Adarsh building scam

NEW DELHI: An Army court of inquiry (CoI) has found two former Army chiefs, Gen Deepak Kapoor and Gen N C Vij, and several other senior Army officers responsible for the Adarsh housing society scam. 

The CoI probing the scam, which was exposed by The Times of India, has said the conduct of several top Army officers—among them the two ex-Army chiefs, four lieutenant generals and three major generals—was "blame-worthy". This is the first time that so many top Army officers have been indicted by an Army court. 

Apart from Gen Kapoor and Gen Vij, the other officers blackballed by the CoI include Lt Gen G S Sihota, Lt Gen P K Rampal, Lt Gen Shantanu Choudhry , Lt Gen Tejinder Singh, Maj Gen Ram Kanwar Hooda, Maj Gen A R Kumar, Major Gen V S Yadav and Maj Gen Tej Kishen Kaul. 

The CoI report was recently submitted to the defence ministry. The Army has recommended that the CBI should be asked to look into specific evidences established by the CoI against the officers, most of whom are retired. Three serving officers found "blame-worthy'" would face Army punishment, most likely administrative action such as loss of seniority, sources said. 

The possibility of a full-fledged court-martial is being ruled out for now. The Army had constituted a three-member CoI in December last year in Pune, the headquarters of Southern Army Command, in the wake of TOI's expose of senior Army officers who overlooked objections or played along with the lead players of the housing scam and received apartments in the upscale Mumbai complex. 

The senior-most serving officer figuring in the list of those against whom prima facie evidence has been found by the CoI is Major Gen Ram Kanwar Hooda, who was the General Officer Commanding, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa, until a few months ago. 

Gen Hooda owns at least one flat in Adarsh complex. The Army headquarters has already taken him off the list of those to be considered for next rank. He is to retire this month-end. He could also be summoned for further Army disciplinary action, sources said. 

In the dock 

Gen Nirmal Chander Vij 

Gen Deepak Kapoor 

Lt Gen G S Sihota 

Lt Gen P K Rampal 

Lt Gen Shantanu Choudhry 

Lt Gen Tejinder Singh 

Maj Gen Ram Kanwar Hooda 

Maj Gen A R Kumar 

Maj Gen V S Yadav 

Maj Gen Tej Kishen Kaul.

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