Defence ministry hit by fresh land scam


NEW DELHI: The defence ministry has been hit by a fresh land scam with an in-house inquiry finding that about 70 “ad hoc NoCs” were issued to private realtors flouting norms for defence land which included the Srinagar air base.

A CBI inquiry has been recommended by the defence ministry after it received the inquiry report submitted by its high-powered committee.
“There were some Defence Estates Organisation gentlemen before who had issued some ad hoc NOCs. The matter is for investigation… A high-powered defence ministry team had gone there to look into the matter,” the IAF chief, Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne told reporters here on Monday.
The DEO there had issued around 70 NOCs to private realtors and the last four were given for the IAF land over which the Srinagar airfield is built and a CBI probe has been recommended by the defence ministry, sources said here.
Sources said the probe had found that in collusion with state government officials, the DEO officials had issued NoCs to sell land in and around the air force station and the 15 Corps headquarters.
Air Chief Marshal Browne said the services don’t see the issue of piece of defence land given to private realtors as just a land issue as “this is question of our security and that can’t be compromised.”
Air Chief Marshal Browne said the service had land in five pockets in the city which was fenced and the IAF “didn’t issue NoCs neither on ground or air.” He said that management of defence land was the responsibility of the DEO and they have given CDs of the land records to units to verify whether the land records in respective areas.
The Air Chief also expressed concern over the construction of high-rise buildings overseeing the air force bases in places such as Pune and Bareilly.
The role of DEO officials had come under the scanner during the Adarsh land scam in Mumbai where they had issued NoCs to private realtors for constructing a 30-storey building over-looking key military installations there.
A BJP delegation had also met the Defence Minister, Mr A K Antony last month alleging an organised land scam worth ` 1000 crore in Jammu and Kashmir, involving defence and revenue officials in league with local politicians.
They also charged a defence estate official, who had been earlier indicted by the CAG in Mumbai’s Adarsh scam, for issuing rampant no-objection certificates and selling defence lands in Srinagar.
After the Sukna and Adarsh land scams broke out, the defence ministry said it has taken several steps to streamline the management of defence land.


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