Former MoS, ex-Army Chief face CAG heat for land scandal

The CAG has come down on former Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh and former Army Chief Gen Deepak Kapoor for their role in the Kandivili land scandal in which a private builder was given control of a prime piece of land in Mumbai that had been under the control of the Army.

The auditor has criticised the Army for letting a private builder usurp the land by giving "an irregular No Objection Certificate" and compromising security. The 5,166 sq metre land that was allegedly usurped by the private builder for a residential project is in Kandivili had been in possession of the Army and since 1942.

The report says that the land was allotted to a private company in 2007 by the state government but work was stopped by the Army as it was moving a case for acquiring the area due to security reasons. "As the COD obstructed the development work, the company (private builder) lodged a complaint with the Minister of State for Defence Production (Rao Inderjit Singh) whereby his Personal Secretary wrote to the then Army Chief's Secretariat (Gen Deepak Kapoor) for appropriate action," the report says.

It adds that the file was then forwarded by the Army Chief to the Quarter Master General within a day for 'appropriate action'. The minister's office was later informed that the "Local Military Authority had been instructed to remove all obstructions and to let the legal owner go ahead with planned development". "The Army headquarters instead of investigating and defending its case allowed the company to go ahead with its development work in the vicinity of military establishment thus compromising defence security," the report says, noting that the matter is currently being probed by the CBI.

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