Pune: Defence Estates Director Ray Transferred In ‘Public Interest’ For Exposing Multi-Crore Bungalow Sale Scam

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Mubarak Ansari

Pune, 9th February 2024: Defence Estates Director Saurav Ray, known for his integrity, has been abruptly transferred by the Director General of Defence Estates (DGDE) Office, citing ‘public interest.’ The move follows Ray’s role as a whistleblower in uncovering fraudulent sales of several Old Grant Bungalows (OGB) in Pune cantonment. The 1994 batch IDES officer was transferred today.

Ray, who had recently received security from Pune Police due to perceived threats, had been exposing vested elements involved in the fraudulent sale of central government-owned defence land. His ten-month tenure at Southern Command, beginning on May 22, 2023, uncovered serious irregularities related to OGB sales with a market value running into thousands of crores.

The DGDE order, issued on Feb 9, stated that, in view of administrative exigencies as well as public interest and with the approval of the competent authority (Raksha Mantri), IDES officers of Senior Administrative Grade are being transferred. C Ravindra, an IDES officer of the 1993 batch and the Director of Defence Estates, Northern Command, Jammu, has been transferred to the Directorate of Defence Estates, Southern Command, Pune.

Ray has been transferred and posted as the Director of Defence Estates, Eastern Command, Kolkata, against the existing vacancy.

Previously serving as the Director, Defence Estates at Eastern Command, Kolkata, from 2016-2019, Ray’s transfer raises questions as IDES officers are typically posted to complete a three-year tenure in their existing posting.

Ray’s distinguished career includes serving on deputation to India’s external intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), from 2003 to 2016, and as the Custodian of Enemy Property for India (CEPI), Ministry of Home Affairs, from August 2020 to May 2023. During his tenure with CEPI, he lodged several cases in CBI against corrupt practices, giving away prime enemy properties for free.

In 2001, Ray exposed the infamous Adarsh Housing Society Scam in Mumbai. His report on the Adarsh Defence Land scam contributed to the downfall of the Congress-ruled Maharashtra state government.

Before that, in 1997, Ray exposed another defense land scam in Ahmednagar Cantonment and was subsequently sent to Kashmir on a punishment posting.

Ray’s transfer comes on the heels of the sudden transfer of acting Defence Estates Officer (DEO) Pune Circle, Amitkumar Mane, who had taken stringent actions against powerful entities involved in grabbing defense bungalows. Mane was transferred on January 22, a public holiday due to the consecration of the Ram Janmabhoomi Temple in Ayodhya, sparking criticism from civil society, citizens, and social activists.

Highly placed sources suggest that Ray, unraveling the fraudulent bungalow sale involving many OBGs, had recommended against the fraudulent sale of two important bungalow properties – one in Khadki and some at Queens Garden. This recommendation is believed to be a trigger behind his sudden transfer.

In the last week of December 2023, DEO Pune issued a resumption notice to New Club (Poona) Ltd for non-payment of dues worth ₹17 crore and lease expiry. Subsequently, in January, several bungalow properties were sealed by DEO Pune.

The transfer of key officials involved in exposing fraudulent activities raises concerns about the protection of national assets and the transparency of such transactions.

Key events timeline:

– January 1, 2024: IGR office orders sub-registrars in the state to probe unauthorized defense bungalow sale cases
– January 10: DEO Pune sealed a sprawling two-acre bungalow at Cross Road costing ₹100 crore
– January 13: DEO Pune sealed two bungalows, including an Old Grant Bungalow (OGB) Number 15 on Stavely Road, spread over 2 acres, and Bungalow Number 22 located on Napier Road in the Pune Cantonment limits totaling over ₹100 crore.
– January 19: DEO Pune sealed Red House, an iconic British-era heritage property costing ₹50 crore
– January 22: DEO Amit Kumar Baburao Mane transferred to Delhi
– January 23: Mane reinstated as additional DEO, Pune
– January 24: Defence Estate Director Saurav Ray granted security by Pune Police over reports of life threats
– February 9: Ray transferred in ‘public interest’ with approval of competent authority (Defence Minister)


– Bungalows in Pune cantonment area: 300
– Bungalows in Khadki canonment area: 60
– Market value of OGBs in Khadki and Pune cantonments: ₹10,000 crore
– Currently, more than 20 OGB properties are under scrutiny for fraudulent sale.