NEW DELHI: The Adarsh housing scam, which has already cost Ashok Chavan his job as Maharashtra chief minister, is sinking to still more embarrassing depths as investigators comb carefully through the claims of its promoters, who invoked the names of Kargil heroes and war widows to extract clearances.
Did any Kargil hero actually get a flat in Adarsh? In 2002, the society had listed two members — out of a total of 71 — as Kargil heroes. But it now turns out that the army has no record of even these two having seen action in the 1999 conflict. Worse, the two — a major and a subedar — are now missing from the new list of 103 that the Adarsh promoters released on October 26 to the media.
The first list of 71 members that the society had submitted to the Maharashtra government included 34 civilians, including many bureaucrats and politicians, eight defence estate officers and 29 armed forces officers (16 army, 12 navy and 1 air force). Of the 16 armymen, two — Major Rajeev Kumar Hitnarain Singh and Subedar P Achelal Thakur — were described as Kargil heroes. But authoritative army sources have told TOI that the official database does not show either of these men as ever having fought in Kargil.
Interestingly, it was this 2002 list that the Deputy Registrar of Cooperative Societies, Mumbai, gave to the Western Naval Command when it asked for a list of members of Adarsh Society. The promoters themselves had refused to give a list, telling the naval authorities that it was still not complete. Under pressure, the promoters finally released a list of 103 members on October 26. Neither Major Singh nor Subedar Thakur figured on it.
The army top brass is now considering ''firm'' initiatives to ensure that names of war heroes and military widows are not misused by vested interests. ''We are looking at what precisely can be done, we are concerned about it,'' a senior official said. Many instances are emerging from across the country of prime real estate being cornered in the name of defence personnel, he added