Antony orders CBI probe into Mumbai housing scam (Lead)

November 9th, 2010 - 1:59 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 9 (IANS) Defence Minister A.K. Antony Tuesday ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the multi-crore rupees Adarsh housing society scam, allegedly involving top politicians, bureaucrats and former service chiefs, an official said.

“A CBI probe has been ordered and the investigating agency will take over soon,” defence ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar told IANS.

The scam, which Army Chief Gen. V.K. Singh said has shamed the army, relates to the controversial residential block being built in Mumbai’s upscale Colaba and in the neighbourhood of naval establishment. It was originally meant to be a six-storeyed apartment block for housing Kargil war heroes and widows.

However, it was surreptitiously converted into a plush 31-storeyed building and has over 100 members, including former service chiefs, senior serving army officials, bureaucrats, politicians their kin, and in at least one case even a politician’s driver.

The defence ministry has taken a strong note of the involvement of serving and retired officers in the matter that is “tantamount to impropriety”, the official said.

The army was mulling its own inquiry to look into the role played by its officers in the conspiracy. However, action against guilty retired officers cannot be taken as per the Army Act, because a soldier can be summoned to face proceedings only within three months of retirement.

Hence, the defence minister is relying on a civilian probe against guilty retired officers.

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