Pune: Defence Estates Office Exposes Mega Fraud in Bungalow Sales, Deals Under Central Agency Scanner

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Pune, 23rd January 2024: The Defence Estates Office (DEO) in Pune has uncovered a significant scandal involving the unauthorized sale of at least fifteen old grant bungalow properties to influential individuals, real estate developers, and corporate owners with strong government connections. The transactions are now under scrutiny by a central agency for corruption.

An IDES officer revealed that the investigation into these fraudulent sales has revealed corruption, nepotism, and favoritism, prompting concerns among authorities. Activists in Pune Cantonment are demanding a central agency probe and the sealing of the implicated bungalows by the DEO office. The DEO has recently sealed prime bungalows, collectively valued at around Rs 200 crores, as part of its crackdown on unauthorized sales of defence properties.

The Pune Cantonment, with 300 Old Grant Bungalows (OGBs), and the Khadki Cantonment Board, with 60 sprawling bungalows, has properties estimated at Rs 10,000 crore in the market. The DEO’s recent actions include sealing two prime bungalows worth around Rs 200 crores, located on defence properties. The directorate is actively working to reclaim defence properties lost to unauthorized sales.

Social worker Rajabhau Chavan highlighted a longstanding nexus involved in siphoning off prime old grant bungalow properties, emphasizing the need for a detailed probe. Cantonment experts argue that the recent sealing drive in Pune is just the tip of the iceberg, urging a nationwide crackdown and sealing operation to uncover the mega fraudulent bungalow sale scam, potentially running into lakhs of crores of rupees.

They propose the formation of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate illegal defence bungalow sales across the country, calling for immediate halting of sales through letters to the Inspector General of Registration (IGR) offices in all states with cantonments.

The experts also question the mandatory requirement of No Objection Certificates (NOC) from the DEO office before registration and demand an inquiry into the nexus between the IGR, builder lobby, and influential personalities involved in the sale of precious national assets.