New Delhi, Jul 10 (PTI) The Congress today demanded a court-monitored probe to ascertain the criminal culpability of former Army officers indicted in the Adarsh building scam in Mumbai and asked the BJP to take the “moral high ground” and support its demand.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said the director of the Vivekananda International Foundation, Gen (retd) N C Vij, and other retired senior personnel of the Armed Forces had been indicted by a committee appointed by a court for their role in the scam.
“It would be in the fairness of things that a Special Investigating Team reporting directly to the Bombay High Court is constituted to probe the question of criminal culpability and then only would the entire facts of the matter emerge,” he told reporters.
Tewari pointed out that the enquiry report, which had been critical of Vij, said “he provided a protective umbrella to efforts of the Maharashtra and Gujarat Area and Mumbai Sub Area to facilitate the elimination of the land in question held in occupation of the Local Military authority to the Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society.” It said he did not at any stage question the matter.
The Congress leader said the Vivekananda Foundation was almost an extension of the government as it had contributed two senior bureaucrats to the Prime Minister’s Office.
“So, a question arises that given these observations and recommendations contained in the Enquiry Report, a free and fair investigation is in order to establish criminal culpability and I stress upon the word ‘criminal culpability’,” he said.
The former Union minister said the request was being made to the High Court that since it was seized of the matter and was hearing “a whole batch of writ petitions and PILs”, a SIT should be formed by it.
The most “giving indictment” in the enquiry report, he said, was that the entire hierarchy was “acutely aware that the Chief of the Army Staff himself had a vested interest in the matter”.
The report said since these officers had retired and more than three years had elapsed after their retirement, the provisions of the Army Act did not apply to them.
“But there is larger and more fundamental question regarding their criminal culpability,” Tiwari said.
It had to be seen if the security of the Colaba Military Station had been compromised, he added.
On a question about a criminal probe against former Congress CM Ashok Chavan, he said the case was investigated by the CBI and a chargesheet had already been filed.
“If you rewind… the day these allegations emerged, the first thing which the Congress party leadership did was to request the then Chief Minister (Chavan)to step down,” he said.
Tewari said after that not only was there a criminal investigation, a Commission of Enquiry was also constituted by the Maharashtra government.
“We took the moral high road at that point in time and we expect the BJP Government also to request the High Court that the question of criminal culpability be investigated by a Special Investigating Team under the supervision of the High Court,” he said.
These indictments, he stressed, had been made “by a Committee which was constituted on the directions of that court by this Government”, and not just by “anybody”.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.