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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

CBI issues notices in the defence land scam

HT Correspondent, PTI   New Delhi, May 22, 2013
First Published: 18:22 IST(22/5/2013) | Last Updated: 03:12 IST(23/5/2013)

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is probing alleged irregularities in the transfer of defence land to a trust in Jodhpur, has served notices to the Defence Estate Officer and a trust belonging to a royal family, among others, seeking documents and records.

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The agency recently filed a Preliminary Enquiry to probe the case. Defence Minister A K Antony had requested a CBI probe on May six into alleged irregularities in the transfer of a 4.84 acre-army plot to the Maharaja Harisingh trust in 2007 by officials of the Ministry and the service. The agency served notices to the Defence Estate Officer, Maharaja Harisingh trust, army administration, and district authorities among others to seek all documents pertaining to the land, said a CBI source.

According to the source, the agency will check the procedures followed by the army administration while handing over the piece of land to the trust. The agency will ascertain the motive behind the transfer and role of the involved officials and also scrutinize the concerned land revenue records, said the source.

The army has put in place one of its officers to co-ordinate between it and the CBI.

The army has assured the CBI that it will provide all the documents related to the transfer, said the source.

The multi-crore land plot, located at the foothills of the Umaid Bhawan Palace, is currently being developed as a residential colony. According to the revenue records, it is government land but the certified revenue map of this land is not available.

It is alleged that the deal was done in violation of not just the defence ministry's Acquisition, Custody and Relinquishment of Military Lands in India (ACR) Rules but also a 1997 government order that explicitly stated that defence land cannot be transferred or leased without the approval of the Union Cabinet and no land can be declared private except through a court or government order.

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