The Army has sought legal opinion whether a formal court of inquiry can be set up to take up the controversy surrounding the Adarsh building.
The judge advocate general (JAG) branch has been given the task of drawing up the terms of reference for a formal inquiry,but it will be a difficult task because of the complicated nature of the case.
For one thing,many officers who dealt with the procedures relating to the plot (including former Mumbai Area Commander Maj Gen TK Kaul) have since retired from the Army. Also,the list of society members includes several former officers,including Lt Gen Tejinder Singh who recently retired,and the Armys powers are limited when it comes to taking action against retired officers.
Sources said the terms of reference for a formal court of inquiry would look into the issue of the land ownership and the circumstances under which the Army relinquished possession. While investigating the list of society members,the inquiry will look for signs of conflict of interest and whether any serving officer abused a position of authority.
The inquiry is also likely to probe whether a serving officer,Maj Gen RK Hooda,had any role to play in giving clearance to the society. Maj Gen Hooda,who is a member of the Adarsh Housing Society,was the Mumbai area commander till a few months ago; he is currently posted at Army Headquarters.
The Army has received several tip-offs and letters alleging that some of the flats in the society are owned by senior officers who have used proxies. Such charges will be verified once a formal inquiry starts.
While little can be done against retired officers at best the Army can share its findings with civil agencies- officers said they are determined to take strict action if any serving officers are found to be guilty of favouritism or in collusion with builders.