Rs 1,500-crore defence land scam in Srinagar | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Rs 1,500-crore defence land scam in Srinagar

delhi Updated: Oct 03, 2011 01:21 IST
Rahul Singh
Rahul Singh
Hindustan Times
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A defence ministry probe has blown the lid off a Rs 1,500-crore land scandal in the border state of Jammu and Kashmir that could have serious security implications.

An internal probe by the defence ministry found that private parties were allowed to buy more than 200 acres near
sensitive military installations in Srinagar on the basis of no-objection certificates (NoCs) that were granted fraudulently.

The probe points to collusion among officials of the defence estates department and state government and land sharks who got together to sell the land on the fringes of the high-security air force station and 15 Corps headquarters.

The corps is at the centre of counter-terrorism operations in the Valley and responsible for guarding a 300-km stretch of the line of control running between the Pir Panjal range and Zojila.

Defence minister AK Antony has asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe the case, which early estimates indicate will put the Sukna and Adarsh scandals in the shade.

The land is priced anywhere between Rs 1,200 crore and Rs 1,500 crore.

The ministry ordered an in-house probe after receiving complaints that defence land near high-security installations had been sold off illegally.

More than 70 NoCs issued during the last four years are being looked into.

“The initial probe has revealed that at least four NoCs were granted illegally to sell off defence land. Only a CBI investigation can reveal the exact scale of this scam,” sources close to the inquiry said.

The NoCs said the defence ministry had never acquired the land, contrary to records that show that the government bought the land in the 1960s.

The first head has already rolled, more are on the block. The ministry has suspended defence estates officer, Srinagar circle, the sources said.

"The scam wouldn't have been possible without the involvement of officials at different levels. The jurisdiction of DEO Srinagar circle covers several districts in the Valley,” one of the sources said.

Four generals were indicted by an army court of inquiry in December 2009 for facilitating the transfer of 70 acres of land, valued at Rs 300 crore, adjacent to Sukna military station in West Bengal to a Siliguri-based businessman.

The Adarsh housing society in Mumbai was meant to be a six-storey structure to house Kargil war heroes and widows. It was, however, converted into a 31-storey building in violation of multiple norms, with senior army officials and relatives of politicians getting the flats.