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New official to clean up Defence Estates: Antony

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Wednesday said the government had appointed a new Director-General of Defence Estates, tasking the person with cleaning up the organisation. He said the CBI probe into the Adarsh Housing Society issue came on the recommendation of a Service chief.

Speaking to journalists at a function here, Mr. Antony said the Ministry was paying more attention to the Defence Estates and that its new head had been asked to tidy it up.

He was responding to a question whether the government had given fresh instructions to the Estates in the wake of allegations that several of its personnel were involved in the housing society scam.

On the charge by the Opposition that a CBI probe would affect the morale of the troops, Mr. Antony said it was not a political decision but a recommendation of the Chief of the Army Staff, General V.K. Singh.

The Minister said that after analysing the issue, the Army Chief had come to the conclusion that the issue was both complex and serious, requiring a probe by the premier investigating agency.

On Tuesday, the Minister ordered a CBI probe that will look into the circumstances under which a No-Objection Certificate was issued and the possession of the land in question was relinquished. The Army, in its report to the government, determined that it had “de-facto” possession of the land and did not rule out criminal conspiracy on the part of its personnel.

Separately, the Army Chief has told his officers and other personnel that they should stand up without fear against any wrongdoing in the force and assured them of his full support.

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