Friday, March 9, 2012

Major General Ashok Kumar Pradhan sets new benchmarks for troops welfare

Express Buzz 08 Mar 2012 09:04:48 AM IST
BANGALORE: Major General Ashok Kumar Pradhan, the man who unleashed a silent revolution in Indian Army, by inspiring his men through a slew of HR-centric measures is bidding goodbye to Karnataka.
Pradhan, currently the General Officer Commanding (GOC), Head Quarters, Karnataka and Kerala (K&K) Sub-Area, will hand over the baton to Maj Gen K S Venugopal.
Army sources told Express on Wednesday that Venugopal had till recently handled the operations and logistics of the Indian Army at the Southern Command. The man of the moment touched down in Bangalore on Wednesday and will take over the reins of Karnataka and Kerala Sub-Area on March 9 at a ceremonial event.
Pradhan will move to the prestigious Infantry School in Mhow (Madhya Pradesh) as the Deputy Commandant and Chief Instructor.
Venugopal, an alumni of the National Defence Academy, joined the Army in 1976 and took part in a number of counter-insurgency operations over the years. A recipient of Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM), Venugopal comes with loads of expertise executing numerous critical missions and projects for the Army.

Pradhan, the first Major General of K&K Sub-Area, is being credited with many initiatives that set new benchmarks for the welfare of troops. “His biggest weapon is patience and won many ‘battles’ and hearts by being a down-to-earth soldier. We were given absolute freedom, and he set himself high standards of integrity. Welfare of Ex-Servicemen was paramount and he kept reminding every solider that they too will join the ranks of retired men one day,” a senior serving official with Karnataka and Kerala Sub-Area said.

While it is seldom that a serving official gets such accolades in the Army, considering the highly politicised set-up within the ranks and among the units, Pradhan executed most of his missions as a silent soldier. In a recent interaction with Express, Pradhan had said: “If you want your troops to follow you, then you will have to be closer to them.
Venugopal Sub-Area GOC

Pune ex-servicemen get a raw deal

ECHS runs out of funds and bogged by bureaucratic hurdles
Published: Tuesday, Mar 6, 2012, 12:10 IST
By Soumabha Nandi | Place: Pune | Agency: DNA

Retd Colonel Shashi Anand’s wife’s treatment was halted at the Jehangir Hospital last week. According to Anand, the hospital official denied his wife further treatment as they had not been paid the bill of the ex-servicemen contributory health scheme (ECHS). “Under the ECHS scheme, an ex-serviceman and his family members are entitled to cashless treatment in the hospitals.
However, my wife’s treatment was halted by the hospital authorities as they claimed that they have not received the payment from the army yet, and hence will not carry out further cashless treatments,” said Anand, who has now shifted his wife to Command Hospital.
Like Anand, most of the ex-servicemen are facing difficulties in getting treatment in private hospitals. The ECHS beneficiaries are denied treatment in these hospitals as bills under the scheme have not been paid by the army. According to sources, the outstanding to be paid to hospitals surpasses Rs3 crore.
However, the hospital officials maintained that they have not stopped treating ECHS beneficiaries, provided they pay the amount from their pockets.
Jehangir Hospital confirmed that even as they have stopped giving cashless treatment to ECHS beneficiaries, the treatment will not be disrupted if the patients agree to pay the bills which have been set in concession rates.
“In spite of serious issues related to payments we have not stopped treatment. We are settling directly at the concessional ECHS tariffs rates with those patients desirous of seeking treatment at Jehangir Hospital, until the issue is resolved,” Jehangir Hospital spokesperson told DNA.
The ECHS officials maintained that the payment of bills is a lengthy process and the hospitals should be patient enough regarding the issue as it is a matter of ex-servicemen.
“The payment of bills goes through a lengthy hierarchical order, where the payment beyond 5 lakh extends up to the ministry of defence.
“The paperwork sometimes take some time, hence the hospitals should cooperate with us as the bills will eventually be paid to them,” zilla sainik welfare officer (Pune) Major (retd) Milind Tungar told DNA. ECHS (Pune) staff officer, Col Abhay Raj Sharma told DNA that the non-payment of bills is a temporary phase and meetings have been held with the hospitals to solve the issue. “The hospitals should bear with us and wait for the financial year to end. The solution to the problem is a lengthy process and hence they need to be patient. The bills will be paid to them in the recent future,” he told DNA.
Courtesy- DNA Report

Welfare of the ex-Servicemen: Survey and Statistics of Special Skills Vital

Governor, CM for conducting census of ex-Servicemen to enlarge their welfare
Saturday, 03 03 2012 10:08

J&K Rajya Sainik Board meets
JAMMU, MARCH 2 - N. N. Vohra, Governor, and Omar Abdullah, Chief Minister, today called for conducting a district wise survey of ex-Servicemen to assess their number and the area-specific requirements for enlarging their rehabilitation and welfare.
The Governor and the Chief Minister were addressing the 74th meeting of the J&K Rajya Sainik Board, at Raj Bhavan, here today.
The Governor, chairing the meeting, observed that such a survey would facilitate a meaningful review and prioritization of the ongoing schemes and re-orienting them, as required, for enhancing the welfare of the ex-Servicemen and their families.
Emphasizing the need for taking all required measures for re-orienting and upgrading the skills and capacities of ex-Servicemen, the Governor observed that this would enhance their employability and placements in the job market. He observed that the State has a significant population of ex-Servicemen who possess valuable experience, skills and technical expertise in different fields, adding that this potential needs to be gainfully exploited for the overall benefit of the society at large. He noted that, to secure this objective, an appropriate mechanism could be put in place for providing counseling to the ex-Servicemen.
Referring to the vast growth potential in the various sectors of the State’s economy for generating wealth and employment avenues, the Governor said that the ex-Servicemen, like other unemployed persons, could go in for setting up units in poultry, dairy and fish farming, sheep and goat rearing, mushroom cultivation and floriculture. He said that all these sectors have a ready market and the ex-Servicemen should be encouraged to form cooperative units for securing assured economic returns.
While taking stock of the pace of progress on the construction of Sainik Bhawans at various places in the State, the Governor stressed their time bound completion to avoid time and cost over-runs and for early providing this facility to the ex-Servicemen. Omar Abdullah, Chief Minister, said that he had ordered the creation of a Special Cell in the State Home Department to coordinate further action on all issues relating to ex-Servicemen, for securing their improved welfare.
The Rajya Sainik Board reviewed in detail the progress made in regard to the construction of Sainik Bhawans at Srinagar, Jammu, Rajouri, Kargil and Kupwara. The acquisition of land for Sainik Welfare Housing Colonies also came under review at the meeting. The Governor thanked the Chief Minister for enabling timely decisions in regard to various pending issues and for setting up a Special Cell in the State Home Department to look after the welfare of the ex-Servicemen and observed that this should be recorded in the proceedings of the Board’s meeting.
Later, the Governor chaired the meeting of the State Managing Committee for Funds, and focused on the budgetary support being provided by the State Government to the Department of Sainik Welfare, as also the contribution of the Kendriya Sainik Board to the J&K Rajya Sainik Board. He emphasized the need for evolving appropriate strategies for enhancing the mobilization and collection of funds at all levels, for maximizing the welfare of ex-Servicemen and their families.
The meeting among others was attended by R. S. Chib, Minister for Youth Services and Sports; Raman Bhalla, Minister for Revenue; Iqbal Khandey, Principal Secretary, Finance; Navin Kumar Choudhary, Principal Secretary to the Governor; Lt. Gen. B. S. Pama, Chief of Staff, Northern Command; Maj. Gen. Pramod Behl, Director General Resettlement, New Delhi; Sheikh Mushtaq Ahmad, Secretary, General Administration; Comdr H. C. Sharma, Joint Director, Kendriya Sainik Board, New Delhi; Brig. Biswajeet Mukherjee from 15 Corps; Brig. Pankaj Saxena, 26 Div; Brig. Suresh Menon, 16 Corps; Col. J. S. Chauhan, Director, Resettlement, Zone North; A. A. Khan, Additional Secretary, Home; Maj. Gen. (Retd) G. S. Jamwal, President, J&K Ex-Services League; and non-official members, Lt Cdr (Retd) J. P. Kotwal; Hony Capt Bana Singh; Hony Capt Sohan Singh and B. S. Slathia, Advocate, President Bar Association, Jammu besides other official and non-official members.
A detailed power point presentation was made by Brig. (Retd) R. S. Langeh, Secretary, Rajya Sainik Board, on the occasion, detailing the measures taken for the welfare of the Ex-Servicemen, financial status of the Board, construction of Sainik Bhawans and the implementation of the various decisions taken in the last meeting of the Board.
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Army Welfare Education Society WAT 2012

Army Welfare Education Society (AWES) WAT 2012 Notification Written Admission Test 2012
1. B.Ed programme (one year, full time, NCTE recognized)
2. Army centre of education (ACE)
3. Army college of Dental Sciences (ACDS)
4. Army college of Nursing (ACN)
5. Army institute of Nursing (AIN), Guwahati
6. Army institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology (AIHM and CT)
7. Army Institute of Technology (AIT):
8. Army Institute of Fashion and Design (AIFD)

Eligibility conditions
The applicants must fall into one of the following categories:
  • wards of serving Army personnel with minimum 10 years continuous service in the Army
  • wards of ex-Army personnel granted/awarded regular pension, liberalized family pension, family pension or disability pension at the time of their superannuation, demise, discharge, release medical board/invalided medical board. This includes wards of recruits medically boarded out and granted disability pension
  • Wards of ex-army personnel who have taken discharge/release after ten years of service

    Adopted/step children and children of remarried widows
    (a) adopted child of Army personnel who completed 10 years service, adopted at least five years prior to seeking admission
    (b) step children are eligible provided they are born out of a wedding where at least one parent belonged to the Army and completed 10 years service
    (c) Children of Widows of Army personnel who are born as a result of second marriage with army personnel. However, children of widows of Army personnel born out of remarriage with non-army personnel would not be eligible for admission

    Eligibility criteria in special cases
    Eligibility criteria for wards of Ex-Army Medical corps officers/Army Dental corps officers presently serving with Indian army/Indian Air Force; wards of only those ex-army medical corps/army dental corps officers presently serving with Indian Navy or Indian Air Force who have served with the Army for 10 years

    Eligibility criteria for children of APS personnel (
    a) Children of APS personnel classified as ex-servicemen as per govt of India, ministry of defence letter no. 9(52)/88/D(Res) dtd 19 July, 1989
    (b) Children of those APS personnel who are on deputation and who have put in 10 years of service in the army
    (c) Children of APS personnel, who are directly recruited into APS who have competed 10 years of service and of those who as per their terms and conditions of service, retired from APS without reversion to P&T department after completing their minimum pensionable service of which 10 years was in the Army

    Eligibility criteria for children of MNS/TA personnel
    (a) Children of only those members of MNS who have 10 years service as regular Army MNS officer or are in receipt of pension from the Army
    (b) Children of only those TA personnel who have completed 10 years of embodied service

    Centre for WAT: (except for AIT Pune, ACDS MDS, AIL and AIFD for PG)
    Pathankot, Jalandhar cantt, Ambala, Delhi, Kota, Jodhpur, Dehradun, Lucknow, Bhopal, Pune, Secunderabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Guwahati, Danapur

    Prospectus and application form
    Read qualifications and eligibility conditions carefully before applying.
    To obtain prospectus and application form, send bank draft in favour of concerned institution directly, payable at station where institution is located.
    Application form can also be downloaded from website of the institute
    Prospectus also available at HQ AWES and HQs command (AWES cell) through demand draft only in favour of institute concerned
    However, submitting of application and bank draft will be through hand/post only. For further details refer prospectus of respective colleges.
    Conditions given in respective prospectus apply
    Final year candidates may appear provisionally
    Prospectus on sale by 15th January, 2012 (AIT 01st February, 2012) onwards
    Last date of receipt of application: By 15th March, 2012
    ACDS (PG): 15th February, 2012
    With late fee: by 25th March, 2012; ACDS (PG): 20th February 2012, AIFD (PG) 31st May, 2012, AIT 15th May, 2012
    More details: click here
  • Thursday, March 8, 2012

    Consumer Redressal Commission imposes Rs 10,000 fine on AWHO

    Consumer body hints at ‘Adarsh-like scam’ in Army housing allotment in Panchkula
    Rajni Shaleen Chopra,Rajni Shaleen Chopra Posted: Jan 08, 2012

    Chandigarh Haryana Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has taken a stern view of the irregularities in allotments by Army Welfare Housing Organisation (AWHO) at its residential project at Sector 20 in Panchkula, and has said that “if enquired into deeply, this may again turn out to be another scam like Adarsh Society at Bombay”.
    In a recent order, the Commission had taken note of the lack of transparency by AWHO, and “violation of accommodate their own favourites”. President of the Commission Justice R S Madan and Judicial Member B M Bedi stated, “Though the organisation was created for the welfare of serving/retired defence personnel and was expected to act in a transparent manner...allotments have been made by adopting to a system of fixing security arbitrarily”.

    The order was delivered following the appeal made by the Managing Director of AWHO, New Delhi and Col Satish Kumar, Project Director of the Sector 20 project, against the order of District Consumer Forum, Panchkula. The Forum had decided in favour of the complainant, Subedar Raj Kumar Dhingra (retd) of Sector 2, Panchkula.

    The Commission dismissed the appeal filed with scathing remarks against AWHO, and imposed costs of Rs 10,000 on it.

    Dhingra stated in his complaint that in June 2004, he registered for the AWHO housing scheme in Sector 20 by paying Rs 90,500. The seniority of applicants was to be determined on the basis of the date of bank draft given for the registration fee.

    Dhingra was given a registration number and placed at Serial Number 15. In May 2009, AWHO informed him that his waitlist seniority was ‘1’. He was told to either seek transfer to the AWHO project in Panchkula’s Sector 27 or withdraw his registration, as all dwelling units had been allotted. Dhingra complained to AWHO in this regard, but did not get justice.

    In June, AWHO again informed him that all dwelling units except one had been handed over. Dhingra told the court that this was contrary to their earlier letter.

    In its reply, AWHO said the seniority of applicants was fixed by a local computerised draw in July 2004. In this, Dhingra’s seniority was 723 against the availability of 348 apartments. Dhingra was given the option of changing his registration from Sector 20 to Sector 27, Panchkula, but he did not agree. AWHO said that Dhingra was ranked ‘1’ on the waiting list but no apartment was available, hence there was no deficiency of service on its part.

    After considering the case, the Commission said the AWHO rules did not prescribe for any computerised draw. “AWHO has not disclosed the date of draw, the officer under whose supervision it was held, the manner of the draw etc,” said the order.

    The Commission further added: “One of the registrants against whom the complainant has a grievance (a Brigadier) was not even a member of the scheme till August 2004 while the complainant had registered in June 2004 and the draw was held in July 2004.” Hence, Dhingra was high up in the seniority list.

    After considering other aspects of the case, the Commission observed that allotment was not done fairly by AWHO. The Commission upheld the order of the Forum that AWHO must allot a flat to Dhingra at Sector 20 or 27, Panchkula or at Sector 114 in Mohali at the same price.
    Consumer body hints at ‘Adarsh-like scam’ in Army housing allotment in Panchkula

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012

    Adarsh: CBI arrests its own counsel, politician for bribery

    The Hindu March 7, 2012
    Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested four persons including its own counsel and a former Congress legislator on charges of criminal conspiracy for diluting the charges against the politician in the Adarsh case. The CBI said that the politician paid Rs 1.25 crores to a tax consultant to be given to the CBI officials for favours. A special CBI court on Tuesday remanded all the accused to police custody till March 16.

    The agency indicated it may arrest more persons in the case.
    Kanhaiyalal Gidwani, the former Congress Member of Legislative Council (MLC) who has already been named in the Adarsh First Information Report (FIR) by the CBI, was arrested along with his son Kailash Gidwani, Retainer Counsel for CBI Mandar Goswamy and tax consultant sum lawyer J K Jagiasi.

    The Gidwanis and Mr Goswamy have been booked under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC); and 7, 8, 9, 12 and 13(2) read with 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. Mr Jagiasi has been booked under sections 120(B) of the IPC and 8, 9 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

    While Mr Jagiasi was arrested on Monday afternoon, the Gidwanis were arrested late night on Monday. Mr Goswami was arrested early morning on Tuesday.

    The CBI said that Kanhaiyalal Gidwani, through his son Kailash transferred Rs 1.25 crores over a period of time to Mr Jagiasi in instalments to be given to the CBI officials, so that they could dilute the charges slapped on the politician in the Adarsh case. The CBI counsel told the additional sessions judge A M Kshatriya that Rs 25 lakh of the total sum was given to Mr Goswamy, Special Counsel in the Ministry of Law & Justice who had recently started working as Retainer Counsel for the CBI here.

    “The money was given at a particular place which has been identified by us in six hours. There are documents which show transfer of funds. Prima facie, we have evidence that there is connection (among the accused). Custodial interrogation is necessary to study the transfer of amounts,” special public prosecutor for CBI, ACB, Ejaz Khan told the court.

    The CBI stumbled upon the conspiracy after it arrested Mr Jagiasi on February 20 in a trap case, while accepting a bribe of Rs 25 lakh from an Air India official. His investigation revealed information about the transaction of Rs 1.25 crores between him and the Gidwanis. The agency seized the tax consultant’s 13 lockers and 26 diaries in which they found records for the money transaction.

    The CBI said that it wants to interrogate Mr Jagiasi to recover five Petty Cash Books of the relevant period in last year which has details of the cash transactions. “This is a case of deep-rooted criminal conspiracy and several more persons are involved in this case. Custodial interrogation of the accused is very necessary to unearth the whole conspiracy and the chain of transfer of bribe amount from one person to another,” the remand application submitted by the agency in the court stated.

    CBI also said it wants to investigate if the money was procured through hawala transactions.

    The accused argued that they were aware that Adarsh case was being supervised by the Bombay High Court and that none of the CBI officials in Mumbai were in a position to given an favour to them. They said that Mr Goswamy was one of the most junior counsels in the department and there was no evidence to understand how he was capable of influencing any officer.

    Mr Goswamy’s counsel argued that he was handed over the case as recently as on February 28. “The dates given by the CBI and the date when he [Mr Goswamy] was handed the case, do not match. Till now, he has appeared only once in the Adarsh case. Mr Jagiasi worked as our tax consultant hardly for a year. How do we know what he does in his personal life by taking Mandar’s name?” Rajshree Goswami, wife of Mr Goswami, told The Hindu.

    The court observed that prima facie, the allegations against the accused were serious and demanded custodial interrogation.
    Adarsh: CBI arrests its own counsel, politician for bribery

    Bikram Singh to be the next Army Chief

    Yahoo! India News – Sat 3 Mar, 2012
    New Delhi: The government on Saturday named Eastern Army commander Lt Gen Bikram Singh as the next Indian Army Chief.

    The announcement comes after months of the row over the date of birth of incumbent Gen VK Singh.
    Lt Gen Bikram Singh currently heads the Army's eastern command and will take the top post on May 31 when Gen VK Singh will be retiring from service.
    A press release issued by the ministry of defence says:
    Lt Gen Bikram Singh will be the next Chief of Army Staff
    New Delhi: Phalguna 13, 1933
    Friday, March 03, 2012
    The Eastern Army Commander, Lt Gen Bikram Singh, PVSM,UYSM,AVSM,SM,VSM,ADC has been designated as the next Chief of Army Staff, in the rank of General, with effect from the afternoon of 31 May 2012. He will succeed the present COAS, General VK Singh, PVSM,AVSM,YSM,ADC, who retires from the service on 31 May 2012.
    Lt Gen Bikram Singh was commissioned into the Sikh Light Infantry Regiment on 31 March 1972.
    During his long and distinguished career, spanning nearly 40 years, he has served in a variety of Command and Staff appointments. He has commanded a Corps in the Northern Command. The General had served as Deputy Force Command of a multi-nation UN Peace Keeping Mission in Congo. He had also served as UN Observer in Nicaragua and El Salvador during the early 90s.
    Lt Gen Bikram Singh has studied with distinction at the Defence Services Staff College, the Army War College and the US Army War College, Pennsylvania. He has also done M.Phil in Defence Management from the Indore University.
    He is married to Mrs Surjeet Kaur, housewife and the couple have two sons.
    Bikram Singh to be the next Army Chief
    Related Reading
    Army Chief V. K. Singh congratulates Lt Gen Bikram Singh on succession

    Army officers gave away Pune land willingly

    India Today Krishna Kumar Mumbai, February 8, 2012 | UPDATED 15:55 IST
    The CBI investigations into Pune's Kalpataru land scam have thrown up shocking leads, which hint at the involvement of a select group of army officers in influential positions in all the scams reported from Maharashtra, including Adarsh.
    The agency claims that former defence estates officer S.R. Nayyar, allegedly involved in the Kalpataru scandal, played a major role in the Adarsh scam too. Suspected to be involved in several major scams, Nayyar was already under the scanner when the CBI took up the Kalpataru case probe.
    Investigating around 30 benami flats in the Adarsh housing society, the CBI ran into Vishal Kedari, who owned on paper one such benami flat. Kedari's trail brought the CBI to Pune where it realised that he could not have purchased the Rs.71-lakh flat since he was unemployed and did only odd jobs. Yet, he had managed to purchase the expensive flat without any bank loan.
    Kedari's questioning revealed that he had got Rs.31 lakh as loan from Nayyar, whom he considers his "father figure". The rest of the amount was also given by other "father figures and friends", Kedari claimed.
    But the CBI has evidence to show that Kedari was just a front and that the real flat owner is Nayyar himself.
    So how did Nayyar manage to pay for the Adarsh flat? Well, the CBI did not have to look far. Nayyar was already under the scanner after he gave away 69 acres of army land to a private builder. He forged land records to show that the land belonged to Kevin Pinto. In return for his "services", Nayyar received Rs.2 crore in bribe in April 2008, which later went into buying the Adarsh flat through Kedari.
    The CBI now believes that Nayyar and many of those involved in the Adarsh and Kalpataru scams were part of an army cartel that was involved in such "parcelling" of land worth crores to builders in lieu of money.
    Read more at: click here

    Land Grab. And how to make millions: Maharastra Style
    The politician-builder nexus in Maharashtra has plundered away prime land. Can Prithviraj Chavan break the vice-like grip the realtors have over the state? Ashish Khetan reports: Click here to learn about the modus operandi of Maharastra Political Criminals

    Tuesday, March 6, 2012

    Five steps: How to steal Army land

    Sandeep Unnithan
    What with defense land scams getting rampant, it seems it is too easy to cheat the Army these days.

    In just three years, 1,073 acres of defence land-equal to 412 football fields-has been swallowed up through encroachments by builders and private developers. The Government admitted this blandly in the Lok Sabha in March 2011, noting that encroachments in military areas have increased from 3,510.16 acres to 4,583.588 acres. The Directorate General of Defence Estates (DGDE) reported these encroachments on the 66,000 acres of land it held directly. DGDE is the department in the Ministry of Defence which is responsible for audit, accounting and financial management.
    Over 17 lakh acres of defence land worth Rs.20 lakh crore is vulnerable to encroachment. Of this, nearly 11,000 acres have been stolen, and no one cares. Records for land worth thousands of crores of rupees are maintained in tattered paper registers instead of secure electronic databases. The land is not demarcated. Worse, a corrupt nexus of army brass, defence estates officials and builders continue to bite large chunks out of this land bank.
    The DGDE has 1,251 officials to administer defence land, but no one has been held accountable for failing to protect it. The defence ministry is yet to table its proposed Defence Land Management Bill in Parliament. If there was a scamster’s manual for looting defence land, it would read something like this:

    Nexus between the officials has been found in most land scams that have been unearthed.
    On January 31, the CBI raided the Pune home of former army vice chief Lt-General (Retd) Nobel Thamburaj for his alleged involvement in a land scam. An army press release said that Lt-General Thamburaj had arrived at an outof-court settlement with a builder that resulted in the government losing 0.96 acres of prime defence land worth Rs.45 crore in the Pune cantonment area.
    In most military land scams unearthed over the past few years, defence estates officials have been found to be hand-in-glove with army officials and private developers. The reasons are not far to see. The DGDE is represented by defence estates officers in military stations. These officials are custodians of defence land. The army uses the land. A General Officer Commanding of a military area heads the local administration in all of the 62 cantonment boards across the country. The board issues sanctions for construction of buildings within the cantonment area.

    Land sharks take advantage of loopholes in land documentation.
    Roughly 25 per cent of all defence land has not been ‘mutated’ or not transferred to the land records of the defence estates department.
    Bureaucratic lethargy is to blame for this. When the land-holding is ambiguous, it becomes ripe for exploitation by land sharks. In the Adarsh scam for instance, the housing society that was formed by retired military officials and defence estates officials homed in on a football fieldsized plot of prime land in Colaba, South Mumbai. The land was held by the army but owned by the state government. No records were available. The combination of defence estates and armed forces officials moved in to build a commercial residential tower.

    Builders encircle defence land after buying private plots around it.
    Unused defence land is sometimes not even fenced. At times, corrupt land sharks are known to buy private land around vacant defence land and then gradually encircle it. This happened in the case of the Srinagar air force land scam uncovered in 2009.
    Nearly 200 acres of prime defence land worth over Rs.1,500 crore was quietly sold over the years. The defence estates officials issued no-objection certificates to show that the land never belonged to the defence ministry despite having bought it in 1966.
    Camping grounds, another colonial relic located on the outskirts of military areas, are also considered fair game. The DGDE is meant to conduct land audits to assess the state of its land bank. The last major audit was carried out in 2000. Each year the department presents shrinking estimates of its landholding. The encroachments are termed ‘a complex socio-economic problem’. Surveys of disputed land holdings, ordered to buy time, are carried out with the state government and can take over five years.
    Responsibility for the protection of the land is diffused and the landholding opaque. Guilty officials are punished only if a hue and cry is raised in public. The CBI is now investigating three defence land scams- Adarsh, Kandivli and at Lohegaon, Pune. In the Lohegaon land scam unearthed in 2011, three scamsters prepared fake documents claiming ownership of about 69 acres of defence land worth Rs.800 crore.

    Buyers propose tearing down old houses and constructing a new residential building on it. Old grant bungalows are Britishera dwellings on prime government land. These bungalows dot most military stations and cantonments. They are now valuable for their land which is owned by the government. The modus operandi is for the builder to approach the original tenants and buy them out.
    The bungalows are ‘dehired’- the process by which the government stops collecting lease. The builder then approaches the cantonment board with a proposal for demolishing the ‘dilapidated’ building and constructing a new residential building on it. An audit done by the Comptroller and Auditor General in 2011 mentions 16 such bungalows in military areas of Lucknow, Almora, Kanpur, Ranikhet and Bareilly as being illegally sold for Rs.150 crore. Several other such cases are under the scanner of audit authorities. In the Meerut cantonment, schools, colleges and residential properties have been built on old grant bungalows. A CAG report of 2010 mentions how the Residency Club was built on an old grant bungalow in the Pune cantonment.

    Court proceedings can drag on for decades because ofweak legal defence.
    Among the weakest links in the DGDE is its inability to protect encroached defence land in court. There are an estimated 13,000 pending cases relating to defence land in various courts. The way these cases are handled causes concern. The Government does not file its replies in time and court proceedings drag on for decades. A report prepared by the Controller General of Defence Accounts (CGDA) suggests that the defence estates department get a separate legal department to fight their cases. This suggestion has gone unheeded.
    “Defence estates officials pose as victims of the situation. It suits corrupt officials to have a weak legal defence put up by the Government so that they lose in court,” says a defence ministry official. CGDA officials say land worth “thousands of crores” is locked in legal disputes all over the country. A case in point is a six-acre plot of defence land in Secunderabad on which the defence accounts department built houses. A private firm won a favourable verdict from the high court in 2002. The case continues in the Supreme Court after the defence ministry appealed against this verdict.
    The options for the ministry are grim in this case. They have to either demolish all the buildings, hand the land back to the private society or cough up an estimated Rs.100 crore, the market value of the land.
    Five steps: How to steal Army land

    The defenders of our country and its borders are fighting a secret enemy, which has threatened their dignity and integrity - greed. And at the centre of greed is the humongous amount of land that has been given to the Indian Army by the government for the purpose of establishing its cantonments, offices, residential property, etc. In fact, the Ministry of Defence is the biggest landholder in the government with a holding of 17.31 lakh acres of land across the country.
    Read more at:

    Land Sharks and Senior Officers in the Land Grab Mode

    Ex Servicemen con their own brethren

    3 dupe ex-servicemen of sites; absconding
    Published: Sunday, Mar 4, 2012, 9:31 IST
    By Imran Gowhar | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

    The Ashoknagar police are on the lookout for three “ex-servicemen” who were on the run after duping their colleagues of crores of rupees, promising them sites under ex-servicemen welfare organisation.

    The scam came to light when the accused, identified as Guru Govind, Ningappa and PC Ganapathy, abruptly locked up their office and also shut down their website. According to the police, the trio, claiming to be ex-servicemen, launched ex-servicemen association two years ago and issued advertisements in the media offering sites for the ex-servicemen and retired government employees at affordable rates at Whitefield and Mysore Road, within two months, under the project name Indraprastha Layout.Hundreds of ex-servicemen approached the organisation and even made down payments, ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh as advance for booking sites.

    The association members claimed they had already purchased land at Whitefield, Mysore Road and the layouts are being developed by Karnataka Land Army.

    However, later when investors went to check about the status, they got evasive responses. After postponing the deadline a couple of times, the association wound up the business and the members went missing. Even the website, and the telephone numbers of the organisation were temporarily withdrawn.

    Ananth Krishnan P, an ex-serviceman, had invested his life time saving and is currently running from pillar to post to get back his money. He said the association members used to move in posh cars and lived lavish lifestyle with our money and finally vanished when we started pressurising them, he said.

    Out of greed, the association had even started extending the offers to civilians and retired government officials later on and collected huge amounts from them too, he added.
    Saurabh, son of a retired colonel, told DNA that he had paid `50,000 to the organisation, on behalf of his father, for a site on Mysore Road in 2010.

    Few months later the members went underground and since then I am trying to contact them. The office is locked and the telephone numbers have been terminated, he said.

    Saurabh is in touch with a few members who had invested money. I have been in touch with ten persons from the army, who had invested their lifetime savings after retirement, he said.

    The Ashok Nagar police have registered a case of cheating and are on the lookout for the members of the organisation.

    We have taken a few people into custody and are questioning them to track down the absconding members, a police officer told DNA.
    3 dupe ex-servicemen of sites; absconding
    Comment: All ESM need to exercise caution when seeking membership or services from the numerous dubious ESM organisations. The mute question how one is to check the background of the governing body?


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