No progress on resumption of 16 OGBs since Feb - Hindustan Times
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No progress on resumption of 16 OGBs since Feb

ByNadeem Inamdar
Jul 03, 2024 05:44 AM IST

Meanwhile, cantonment activists have demanded that a special task force be set up to investigate the fraudulent sale of defence bungalows with each costing hundreds of crores of rupees

There seems to have been no progress on the resumption cases involving 16 Old Grant Bungalows (OGBs) announced by the director-general of defence estates (DGDE) since February. Officials said that the 16 cases announced by the DGDE were the old ones and were included in the release issued to the media. Four months following the transfer of southern command defence estates director Saurav Ray who exposed multi-crore defence estate bungalow scams in the Pune and Khadki cantonment areas, the investigation ordered by him seems to have been put in cold storage with no further development or probe in the case.

Jagtap, who while interacting with media persons had said that he was open to discussion on the topic, has been transferred while the media ban on interacting with journalists is also in place. (HT PHOTO)
Jagtap, who while interacting with media persons had said that he was open to discussion on the topic, has been transferred while the media ban on interacting with journalists is also in place. (HT PHOTO)

Meanwhile, cantonment activists have demanded that a special task force be set up to investigate the fraudulent sale of defence bungalows with each costing hundreds of crores of rupees. The DGDE southern command, Pune Circle, in February issued a detailed release which said that it will strictly verify the credentials of the holder of rights (HOR) when seeking permission for new construction of OGB property to prevent irregularities. The release came after Ray exposed that several cases of HORs of OGBs had sought construction permission for their properties in the name of former HORs, and the same came from chief executive officers (CEOs) of the respective cantonment boards.

The then Pune DEO Rajendra Jagtap said, “With recent cases of building permission for bungalows granted in the name of former HORs coming to light, we will strictly verify the HOR credentials of the applicant. We will take an undertaking from the incumbent HOR that the person has not opted for sale deed or agreement to sale when applying for bungalow building reconstruction which is essential to process his application.”

Jagtap, who while interacting with media persons had said that he was open to discussion on the topic, has been transferred while the media ban on interacting with journalists is also in place. DGDE G S Rajeswaran did not answer the calls and text messages sent to him on the topic of resumption of the 16 bungalows. A WhatsApp message sent to him was also not answered. Cantonment-based civic rights’ activist Rajabhau Chavan who has taken up the issue with the authorities stated that Ray had written a letter to the CEO of the Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) seeking an immediate stopping of all construction work in the bungalows in the cantonment area.

Chavan said, “Ray’s investigation led to the discovery that in several cases, illegal purchasers of bungalows have fraudulently applied and obtained building sanction from the PCB in the name of the recorded HOR by deliberately suppressing facts. The resumption process announced post his transfer seems to be a farce as the 16 cases were taken up much before and it was only shown as a face-saving gesture after the huge OGB scam came before the public.”

Social worker Raj Singh who has taken up cudgels against illegalities in the cantonment areas said, “There is a need for the authorities to set up a taskforce to investigate all illegalities related to OGBs and their fraudulent sale in cantonment areas.”

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Ray had further directed that all bungalow construction work be immediately stopped on a temporary basis and the work be allowed to resume after verification of HOR credentials and confirmation from the inspector-general of registration office that no illegal sale has taken place in respect of bungalows and respective GLR survey numbers.

Ray had directed the PCB CEO to submit on top priority a list of all building sanctions given by the board related to the bungalows since January 1, 2022. However there has been no update on it by the DEO, Pune office either. The Pune DEO office did not respond to Hindustan Times’ queries.

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In the last week of December 2023, the DEO Pune issued a resumption notice to New Club (Poona) Ltd for non-payment of dues worth 17 crore and lease expiry. On January 1, 2024, the IGR office ordered all sub-registrar offices in the state to probe unauthorised sale of defence bungalows.

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