2 years later, CBI files closure report in Pune land ‘scam’
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Almost two years after it booked former Vice Chief of Army staff Lt Gen Nobel Thamburaj in an alleged land scam in Pune, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a closure report, saying that no grounds have been found to prove criminality in the case.
The probe was set up in February last year after a complaint by the Defence Ministry that had alleged that Thamburaj and Defence Estates Officer S R Nayyar had shown favour to a private builder and violated terms of lease of defence land in the matter of a prime property at the Pune cantonment. It was alleged that Pune-based Kalpataru Builders benefited to the tune of Rs. 46 crore.
However, after probing the matter for almost two years, during which several raids were carried out and top Army officers were questioned, no evidence was found by the CBI to establish any criminality.
The agency, however, recommended departmental action against the Defence Estates Officer and said that the government can also take action against retired Lt Gen Thamburaj as per the rules. The agency said that while no illegality was found in allotment of land to the private builder, due process was not followed that can be taken up for action within the organisation.
Sources said there was no evidence to suggest that the officials named by the Defence Ministry in its complaint gained materially with the lease of defence land to the builder.
Last year, the CBI had raided the residences of the Lt Gen and former Defence Estates Officer, following which it released a statement saying that it was probing a case that alleged a show of "favour to M/s Kalpatru in the matter of property at Bungalow No 8A, Lothian Road... and measuring area 0.96 acres of B-3 defence land at Pune cantonment".
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