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‘I did not apply my mind to question whether Adarsh was security threat’

former Chief of Army Staff N.C Vij.  

General (retd.) N.C Vij, the former Chief of Army Staff, told the two-member Adarsh Commission here on Wednesday that though he had visited the building as a member of the society, he never applied his mind to the question whether the building was a security threat or not. He has been allotted a flat on the 28 floor of the building. The General, when asked about the measures he would have taken if he would have found that the construction is a security threat, said : “It is not the building but the people occupying the building who need to be scrutinised from security angle and whether the persons occupying the building are trustworthy and dependable.”

He said that he was not aware that a question was raised in Parliament about the ownership of the Adarsh land . Asked how he, as the Chief of Army Staff, was not aware of such an important parliamentary question, he said that only those matters which are of exceptional importance are brought to the notice of the Army Chief.

“Don’t you think that allegations against the very integrity of the very senior officers of the rank of Lieutenant Generals, etc., are considered as matters of exceptional importance?” a member of the Commission asked, to which General Vij said that it was not brought to his notice during his tenure.

The General said he did not know that the land in question was not owned by the State government as he did not get into the ownership issue. “I did not personally try to find out the status of the land in question. I never heard about any parliamentary question in relation to the land,” he said.

He said that in 2003, when a media report appeared about some army land given by the State government to a cooperative housing society in Colaba, the Southern Command had confirmed to him that the land did not belong to the defence forces.

General Vij applied for the membership of the society in 2006, a year after he retired from service. He said that when he was the Chief of Army Staff, the issue of the security concerns caused by the building was never brought to his notice.

He was asked how, despite visiting the 28 floor of the building where he has been allotted a flat, he did not think of Adarsh as a security threat to the military installations surrounding the area. “I was there just for five minutes. As far as the security threat aspect is concerned, it requires detailed appreciation of a number of factors like population profile of the cantonment, how many civilians are there and how many military personnel are there, the layout of the general area, the vulnerable targets, and the surrounding area profile,” he said.

He added that “this is the job which should be constantly done by the Local Military Authority because it also involves your response mechanism to be worked out for such possible threats. If there was any threat visualised at any time over the number of years, it would have been reported and it should have been acted upon immediately,” he said.

Wish to surrender membership

The General said that after the controversy broke, he wrote an application surrendering the membership of the Society, but it was rejected since it was not in the proper format. After that he did not send back the application in the correct format, but said that he was keen on returning the flat .

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Printable version | May 18, 2021 2:47:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/i-did-not-apply-my-mind-to-question-whether-adarsh-was-security-threat/article3808710.ece

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