Stalled Investigation Prompts Activist Demand for Task Force on Pune Defence Bungalow Scam

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Pune, 3rd July 2024: The controversy surrounding the defence estate bungalows in Pune has taken a new turn, with citizen activists demanding the establishment of a special task force to investigate the fraudulent sale of these bungalows. The activists allege that despite the director-general of defence estates (DGDE) announcing the resumption of 16 Old Grant Bungalows (OGBs) in February, there has been no progress in the case.

The DGDE issued a release in February stating that it would strictly verify the credentials of the holder of rights (HOR) when seeking permission for new construction of OGB property to prevent irregularities. However, activists claim that the investigation ordered by Southern Command Defence estates director Saurav Ray, who exposed the multi-crore scam, has been put on hold.

Ray had discovered that illegal purchasers had obtained building sanctions by suppressing facts, and had directed the CEO of the Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) to stop all construction work in the bungalows in the cantonment area. However, there has been no update on the case since his transfer.

Cantonment-based civic rights activist Rajabhau Chavan stated that the resumption process announced post Ray’s transfer seems to be a farce, and demanded a thorough probe into the illegalities related to OGBs and their fraudulent sale. Social worker Raj Singh also echoed the demand, stating that a task force should be set up to investigate all illegalities related to OGBs in cantonment areas.

The IGR office had ordered all sub-registrar offices in the state to probe unauthorised sale of defence bungalows on January 1, 2024.

The demand for a special task force comes amid allegations of a massive scam involving the sale of defence bungalows, with each bungalow costing hundreds of crores of rupees. The activists allege that the authorities are not taking adequate action to probe the scam, and are demanding a thorough investigation into the matter.

Note: This report will be updated with the statement of DEO/DGDE after it is received.