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No guilty will be spared in land scams: Pallam Raju

No one found guilty in the land scams that have hit the defence ministry will be "let off the hook", Minister of State for Defence M.M. Pallam Raju Tuesday said here.



New Delhi: No one found guilty in the land scams that have hit the defence ministry will be "let off the hook", Minister of State for Defence M.M. Pallam Raju Tuesday said here.

Raju, who visited the NCC Republic Day camp here, told reporters that the defence ministry would follow the army`s advice on handing over the investigation into the land scams to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

"If anybody is found guilty (in the land scams), we will take action. I can assure you that the guilty will not be let off the hook," Raju said replying to queries here on the land scams.

The defence ministry was in recent months hit by land scams such as the Adarsh Housing Society in upscale Colaba in Mumbai and the Central Ordnance Depot land in Kandivali on the outskirts of the western megapolis.

In both cases, some local army and Defence Estates officers had issued a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) to transfer the land which was in their possession to private builders for constructing residential highrises.

Raju said the ministry, to prevent such land scams in the future, would be computerising the records of all defence estates and be "conscious" of the use of defence land and assets countrywide.

Asked about the Army Southern Command chief Lt.Gen. Pradeep Khanna`s recommendation for a CBI probe in the Kandivali land scam in which he had named a former minister of state for defence and a former army chief for having a role, Raju said the ministry would follow the army`s advice on the issue.

In the Adarsh Society case, the names of senior politicians and armed forces officials had cropped up last year.
Then Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan had to resign as one of his close relatives had got a flat allotted in the 31-storey building. Former army chiefs Deepak Kapoor and N.C. Vij too were named as beneficiaries in Adarsh, along with former Navy chief Madhavendra Singh.

The three former chiefs had to return their allotments following the controversy. The housing society was formed for Kargil widows and their families.
To a question on Chinese stapled visas to residents of Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh, Pallam Raju said, "It is unacceptable to us."

China had recently issued stapled visas to two sportspersons from Arunachal Pradesh for a visit to that country. Indian immigration officials, after noticing the stapled visas, stopped the two sportspersons from leaving the country at the Delhi airport last week.

IANS

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