New Delhi: An inquiry has prime facie found that Army and defence estates officials allegedly colluded to illegally transfer defence land to a charitable trust in Jodhpur after which a CBI inquiry has been ordered, Defence Minister AK Antony informed the Lok Sabha on Monday.
The 4.84 acres of piece of land was handed over Major Maharaja Hari Singh charitable trust by the local military authorities on August 23, 2007.
"Enquiry by Army authorities has revealed that Army officers at Jodhpur allegedly in collusion with Defence Estates Organisation (DEO) officials illegally transfered defence land to benefit the trust. The matter has, therefore, been referred to the Central Bureau of Investigation for further investigation," the Defence minister said in reply to a query.
He said the CBI has filed a preliminary enquiry in to the case on May 14.
The Defence Minister said about 12,634 acres of defence land has been under encroachment and "action for removal of encroachment is taken" under the provisions of various acts.
"Detailed instructions emphasising the need for ensuring vigilance, detection and prevention of new encroachments have been issued to the Ministry," Antony said.
After several land scams such as Sukna and Adarsh, the Defence Minister took away the right of the local military authorities to issue No Objection Certificates (NOC) to private individuals or organisation for use of defence land or use of land near defence establishments.