Army seeks advice but can do little against ex-officershttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/army-seeks-advice-but-can-do-little-against-exofficers/

Army seeks advice but can do little against ex-officers

As the uproar over the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society in Mumbai has spurred the government into action

As the uproar over the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society in Mumbai has spurred the government into action,the Army has sought legal opinion on whether a formal court of inquiry can be conducted into the matter.

While it is clear that action needs to be taken against the erring officers,the complicated nature of the case has made it difficult for the army to order a court of inquiry that can be followed by action.

The Judge Advocate General (JAG) branch has been given the task of drawing up terms of reference for a formal inquiry into the case. But complicating the matter is the fact that many officers who dealt with the case — including former Mumbai Area Commander Maj Gen T K Kaul — have long retired from the Army.

The society has several former officers — including Lt Gen Tejinder Singh,who recently retired — but the Army has limited powers to take action against retired officers,

Sources said the terms of reference would look into the ownership of the land and in what circumstances did the Army relinquish it from its possession.

While dissecting 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 in giving clearances or permissions to the society. Maj Gen Hooda,a member of the Adarsh Housing Society,was Mumbai area commander till a few months back. He is currently posted at the 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. The charges will be verified once the formal inquiry starts.

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While little can be done against retired officers — at best,the Army can share its findings with civil agencies — it is determined to take strict action if any serving officers are found to be guilty of favouritism or collusion with builders.