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Sunday, 21 December 2014

From Today's Papers - 21 Dec 2014

‘Infighting in army to blame for Adarsh’

Claiming the land allotted to Adarsh housing society does not belong to the Ministry of Defence (MoD), members of the controversial building held that it was rivalry between former Maharashtra chief minister Sushilkumar Shinde and former defence minister AK Antony that was responsible for the entire controversy over ownership of the land.

At a press conference on Saturday, the members also levelled allegations against former army chief and current union minister Gen VK Singh for misleading Antony in this case to take revenge against his predecessor Gen Deepak Kapoor.

While addressing the media, the secretary of the society, RC Thakur, said, “Ever since the allotment letter was issued by Sushilkumar Shinde, his rival Antony started targeting us. He did not even care to check records before commencing action against us.”                                                                

The members showed various replies from the MoD obtained through Right to Information (RTI) Act to show that the land did not belong to the MoD.

Brig TK Sinha (retired), chairman of the society, said, "In spite of the Defence Estates officer’s reports, a one-man inquiry by a colonel ordered by Army headquarters and the opinion of then Additional Solicitor General of India Darius Khambata informing the Army headquarters that the land does not belong to the defence, Gen VK Singh brushed aside all facts and wrote to the Ministry of Defence in October 2010 to order an inquiry by the CBI, which resulted in the case against Adarsh."

Sinha further said the defence ministry did not have any records to prove that the land belonged to it.

"The information sought under the RTI has revealed that the MoD has no information or records available with them regarding ownership of the plot on which the Adarsh society has been built," Sinha said.

Claiming that the land belongs to the Maharashtra government, Sinha said “Finally after four years of malicious conspiracy, the truth is out and we all in the society, especially men in uniform, who have suffered unsolicited humiliation as ‘land grabbers’ stand totally vindicated before the nation.”
Adarsh society members blame Congress infighting for the controversy
 Members of the controversial Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society here have claimed that infighting between two senior Congress leaders, Sushil Kumar Shinde and A.K. Antony, was the cause behind their travails.

At a press conference held on the building’s premises, the members — largely ex-Army and Naval officers — alleged that the false information provided by the former Army Chief V.K. Singh to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) had also resulted in the case against Adarsh.

“The Letter of Allotment (LoA) to the society was signed by Mr. Shinde when he was Chief Minister. It was the political infighting within his party that resulted in Mr. Antony initiating action against Adarsh,” said R.C. Thakur, Secretary, Adarsh Co-op. HSG. Soc. Ltd.

In a statement here, the members alleged that in spite of subordinate formations, Defence Estate Officer, One man inquiry by Colonel ordered by Army headquarters and opinion of Additional-Solicitor General of India, informing Army headquarters that land does not belong to Defence, Gen. V.K. Singh brushed aside all the facts.

The society cited the reply dated December 3, 2014 to the application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) to strengthen their case, as Ministry of Defence/ Director General Defence Estates (DGDE), the custodians of land records for Armed forces had confirmed that that they had no information / documents related to the ownership of the land on which the building stands. Earlier, the Defence Estate Office, Mumbai too had provided the identical information on August 4, 2014.

“We all, especially the men in uniform, who have suffered the most unsolicited humiliation as ‘land grabbers’ stand totally vindicated before the nation after four years,” said Brig. T.K. Sinha, (Retd.), citing the RTI reply.

“Despite the judicial commission having given its report and its final and positive findings negating the claim of Army not only on land but on the Kargil reservation issue, both Gen. V.K. Singh and Mr. Antony persisted with false allegations,” said the statement.

The Adarsh society has been embroiled in a major controversy after it was alleged that the plot was under the ownership of the MoD and originally allotted for the housing scheme for the widows of Kargil martyrs.

The alleged scam till now has resulted in a number of lawsuits, around two-year long enquiry by the two member judicial panel of several bureaucrats, former defence personnel and politicians, including four former Chief Ministers of Maharahstra. Present Congress MP Ashok Chavan had to resign from the Chief Minister’s post after it was proven that his in-laws too had purchased flats in the society.
CAG slams defence PSUs for huge delays in developing trainer aircraft and indigenising Tatra trucks
NEW DELHI: The CAG has slammed Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) for the 14-year delay in developing the intermediate jet trainer (IJT), the absence of which endangers rookie pilots, as well as Bharat Earth Movers Ltd (BEML) for failing to indigenise the Tatra trucks, which are used to carry missiles and radars.

In reports tabled in Parliament on Friday, the audit watchdog came down heavily on HAL for "adversely affecting" the Stage-II training of IAF pilots, who are forced to train on obsolete and ageing Kiran aircraft, by failing to deliver the Sitara IJT till now.

As reported earlier by TOI, "human error (aircrew)'' has been the reason for over 40% of the around 1,100 crashes recorded by IAF since 1970. Noting that IAF had lost 33 aircraft and 27 personnel during 2010-2013, the CAG said 51% of these accidents took place due to human error, while technical defects accounted for 49%. "Training of pilots was compromised as basic training was conducted on ageing trainer aircraft," said CAG.

The acquisition of Tatra trucks, in turn, is already under the CBI scanner, with BEML being accused of selling the all-terrain vehicles to Army at rates double their market value as well as deliberating going slow on indigenizing the specialized equipment and spare-parts despite technology transfers being included in the various contracts that were inked.

Minister of state General (retd) V K Singh had also claimed he was offered a Rs 16 crore bribe to clear a fresh procurement of 600 Tatra trucks when he was the Army chief. The armed forces, incidentally, have inducted over 7,000 Tatra trucks through a BEML tie-up first with Czech firm Omnipol and then Tatra Sipox of UK over the last 28 years.

CAG said BEML had signed a collaboration agreement for indigenization of Tatra vehicles in 1986 with the original equipment manufacturer on the instructions of the defence ministry. "The objective of attaining 86% indigensation by 1991 was envisaged by BEML. However, till 2014, the target is yet to be attained," it said.

"BEML attributed the delay mainly to the MoD's failure in placing orders for sufficient number of vehicles between 1986 and 1991. The process for indigenization of Tatra vehicles suffered due to lack of clear long-term projection of orders by Army to BEML. As a result, the objective of self-reliance in production of Tatra vehicles was defeated," it said.

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