CAG criticises Army for relinquishing land to private builder

Written by Agencies | New Delhi | Updated: Nov 30 2012, 07:16am hrs
The CAG has criticised the Army for letting a private builder usurp its land at a prime location in Mumbai by giving it "an irregular No Objection Certificate" and compromising the defence security.

The government auditor pulled up the local defence authorities saying even after "certain fraudulent activities regarding the piece of land had come to their notice, Central Ordnance Depot Mumbai did not get the land demarcated in its favour from state authorities which facilitated the usurpation of the land from the Army."

The 5,166 sq metre piece of land usurped by the private builder for residential purposes is in Kandivali in Mumbai and was in possession of the Army since 1942, the report tabled today in Parliament said.

The report noted that the said piece of land was allotted to a private company in 2007 and when it started development work there, the COD objected to it and placed sentries there.

"As the COD obstructed the development work there, the company lodged a complaint with the Minister of State for Defence Production (Rao Inderjit Singh) whereby his Personal Secretary wrote to the then Army Chief's Secretariat for appropriate action," it said.

The file was then forwarded by the Army Chief to the Quarter Master General (QMG) (a Lt Gen-rank officer) who later informed the Minister's office that the "Local Military Authority had been instructed to remove all obstructions and to let the legal owner go ahead with planned development."

"The land which was in possession of the Army since decades and under active use for patrolling purposes and of the value of Rs 5.94 crore was relinquished without any serious effort or contest," the CAG report said.

"The Army headquarters instead of investigating and defending its case allowed the company to go ahead with its development work in the vicinity of military establishment thus compromising defence security," it said.

The CAG said the case has been transferred to the CBI for investigation which should try to find out as to "how the NOC was issued when the COD had already objected to construction of any multi-story building in the vicinity."