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Army alleges land grab

The army has alleged that “land sharks” have take over 69 acres of its land in Pune.

india Updated: Feb 25, 2010 02:11 IST
Yogesh Joshi

The army has alleged that “land sharks” have take over 69 acres of its land in Pune.

The property is located close to the high security zone of Lohegaon airport.

“To achieve their aim, they [land sharks] have manipulated land records of the Defence Estates Office,” said a press statement issued by the Southern Command on Tuesday night. The statement did not name anybody. “Even revenue records that had shown that the land belonged to the military since 1918 were changed in 2008 in favour of certain individuals.”

The Southern Command headquarters in Pune has requested the Central Bureau of Investigation to probe the case. “The CBI got the complaint from the Army Southern Command last month and we have already initiated a probe. Revealing any details about the accused will alert them and will hamper the case.”

Superintendent of Police, CBI, (anti-corruption), Vidya Kulkarni, told Hindustan Times:

Defence officials said a “strong local lobby” is planning to develop the plot — survey number 233(A). The land — the army values at Rs. 800 crore — is owned by the defence and houses two Sukhoi squadrons.

Earlier last month, a non-resident Indian, identified as Pintoo, laid his claim on the land. The matter went to the Bombay High Court, but the case was adjourned. A senior army official, requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media, said: “It is a strong local lobby trying to grab defence land. Our concern is to get back that land as it is close to security zone.”