Pune land scam: CBI seeks details of Army probe

Army is probing details pertaining to Pune land scam in which its former Vice Chief Lt Gen Nobel Thamburaj and two others have been charged with criminal conspiracy.

Mumbai: The CBI has approached the Army
seeking probe details and other documents pertaining to Pune
land scam in which its former Vice Chief Lt Gen Nobel
Thamburaj and two others have been charged with criminal
conspiracy, cheating and misconduct to benefit a private
builder to the tune of Rs 46 crore.

After carrying out searches at residence of Thamburaj
and another Defence official the CBI was examining the
documents seized from the residences and office of the private
builder, official sources said.

The CBI has asked the Army headquarters for its report on
the probe conducted by it after which the case was handed over
to the investigation agency by the Defence Ministry, the
sources said.

The CBI has also sought certified copies of the court
orders which were part of the evidence of the internal probe
by the Army after which the agency was planning to call
Thamburaj and others for questioning, the sources said.

The probe agency CBI had registered a case against
Thamburaj on January 31 under various sections of IPC and
Prevention of Corruption Act in a designated court and alleged
that the former Vice Chief of the Army, while he was posted as
General Officer Commanding of Southern Command, entered into a
criminal conspiracy with former Defence Estate Officer SR
Nayyar and Pune-based Kalpataru builders in settling a matter
out of the court of a defence property despite having
favourable orders from various courts.

According to the CBI, Thamburaj, who retired as Vice
Chief in October 2009, and Nayyar had allegedly shown undue
favour to the builder for a property measuring 0.96 acres in
Defence Land at Pune Cantonment.

"There was a dispute going on regarding the property in
question. Thamburaj and Nayyar settled the matter out of court
in spite of several court orders given in favour of the Army.

The duo indulged in gross misconduct," CBI said.

The two officers ignored rules and policies, violated the
terms of lease entered into by the Ministry of Defence and
Kalpataru and caused the private company pecuniary gains of
about Rs 46 crore, it said.

According to CBI officials, there was a property dispute
between Defence Ministry and the builder and the High Court
had in 2005 passed an order in favour of the MoD.

Despite that, the two accused allegedly tweaked certain
rules and policies and did an out of settlement with Kalpataru
builders without the knowledge of higher authorities of the
Defence Ministry, the CBI alleged.

Thamburaj, a 1969 batch officer from Bombay Sappers, was
GoC-in-C of the Southern Command till December 31, 2008 before
being appointed as Vice Chief of Army on January one, 2009.

The former Vice Chief has denied all the charges levelled
against him and also expressed surprise over the decision to
prosecute him where as the decision to enter into agreement
was taken by many people in Southern Command.


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