General VK Singh, the Chief of Army Staff, was categorical when he said that the land, on which the infamous Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society stands, belongs to the army.
General Singh was in Mumbai to attend a book release function at Mulla Auditorium in Colaba.
General Singh’s statement is in stark contrast to the interim report submitted by the judicial commission to the Maharashtra government.
“The land belongs to the Army,” said General Singh when questioned about the ownership of the land.
The Maharashtra state-appointed judicial commission had concluded that the plot of land in Mumbai belonged to the state government and was not meant for families of Kargil war martyrs, as claimed by the army. The report had stated that the defence establishment could not give sufficient documentary evidence to prove its claim over the land.
But General Singh said, “It was a commission created by the state. We have given documents which has a lot of depth and truth. But whatever documents we had given to the commission, they were not stressed upon.”
When questioned about demolishing the structure, General Singh said: “The order is already there. The onus is on you (media) to ensure it is done.” General Singh further added that corrective measures are being taken to ensure such land scams do not happen in the future.
“During my tenure in the army, whenever an irregularity has been brought to my notice, whether it is Adarsh or Sukhna land scam, action has been taken.” Army chief also pointed out the lack of accountability of the Defence Estate Office to the armed forces.
“At some point the defence estate office used to report to the armed forces,” he said.
“But it was discontinued. And from then there have been instances of additions and subtractions,” he added.