Camp, 21st January 2024: The Defence Estates Office (DEO), Southern Command, took decisive action on Friday by sealing the iconic ‘Red House,’ a British-era heritage bungalow estimated at Rs 50 crore. This marks the fourth property sealed by the DEO in Pune Cantonment, intensifying efforts to curb illegal sales of bungalows on defence land.
The property, identified as Bungalow No. 20 spread over 753.15 sq meters on Napier Road, was unlawfully sold by the Holder of Occupancy Rights (HOR) to Satyen Suresh Gathani and Urvi Satyen Gathani of Wanowrie, on June 19, 2023, for just Rs nine crore. The sealing comes amidst revelations that the property, classified as Class 3 defence land, was illegally managed without requisite permissions. The HOR of the bungalow included Nina Gayomard Bharucha, Vera Anand Mahajan, Khursheed Malwinder Narang, all residents of Mumbai and Jamshed KJ Khambatta of Pune.
Experts advocate a nationwide investigation into the fraudulent sale of such bungalows, emphasizing the need for an SIT and halting transactions through IGR offices nationwide. “The nexus of the IGR-Builder lobby including influential and rich personalities operating through their frontmen and brokers must be unravelled across the country to stop the precious national assets belonging to the defence from being illegally sold to the private mega rich buyers”, a defence official said.