Two retired senior Army officials who came under flak for being members of the Adarsh Society have claimed that officials in the army had told them the piece of land on which the society was being built belonged to the state.
“My staff told me that the building is a government-approved housing society and it is under construction for some time,” retired Major General (then serving) RK Hooda, former General Officer (Commanding) for Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa area and one of the allottees in the society told the Adarsh Commission.
He further claimed that he made his application to become a society member based on recommendations of his own officers who had also told him there were newspaper reports suggesting that the land in question belonged to defence.
“However all these have been settled and the land in question belongs to the Government of Maharashtra which has approved the housing society,” his staff is reported to have told Hooda as he claimed before the commission.
Hooda was asked to submit a report by the then Army Chief Gen V K Singh on whether the society was being built on Army Land. There were allegations that Hooda being a member had misled the army about the factual position.
However a military Court of Inquiry had subsequently cleared him of these charges. Hooda was also accused of breaking the rules and not informing the army that he had taken a Rs 30-lakh bank loan and withdrawn Rs 5 lakh from the provident fund (PF) to pay for the flat he purchased in Adarsh.
After the controversy broke out Hooda had also written a letter to the society to cancel his membership which was not done as the resignation was not done under the prescribed format. He subsequently took back his resignation from the society.
Meanwhile another Adarsh member and former Vice Chief of the Army Shantanu Choudhary also claimed that he had applied for membership based on the recommendations of the Army’s Southern Command. He said that he had read reports in the paper that the land in question was defence land wrongly awarded to the society.
“The Southern Command informed me it was a wrong report as the land did not belong to the defence. At that time Lt Gen Sihota was the GOC of the Southern Command,” he told the commission.