Defence land scam: CBI raids offices in Kashmir

Defence land scam: CBI raids offices in Kashmir

The Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) Friday sifted through vital records pertaining to the illegal sale of 200 acres of defence land near Srinagar airport during its simultaneous raids on local Defence Estates office here and revenue office in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district, CBI sources told Deccan Herald.

They said a six-member CBI team headed by DySP RP Sharma, who had landed in Srinagar on Wednesday, also raided residences of a few land brokers and defence estate personnel to gather evidence related to the scam.

The CBI sleuths have also laid hands on vital documents issued by the Defence Estates officials to clear ground for the sale of Rs 1500 crore land to private parties in the last four years, sources said and added that the land brokers were questioned for a few hours.

A senior police official said before raiding the residences of the land brokers and other offices, the CBI team had taken permission for search warrants from anti-corruption court in Srinagar and the raids were started from 11 am on Friday.

Ajay Chowdhary, a 1997-batch Defence Estates official who served in Srinagar, has been named by the CBI in the scam.

The army owned 2,700 acres of land, across Central Kashmir’s Budgam district and South Kashmir’s Pulwama district. The defence land is strategic with an airstrip. Most of the land has been bought by private owners, mainly influential locals.

Media reports quoted New Delhi-based CBI spokesperson Dharini Mishra as saying, the raids were conducted to ‘collect evidence’' after the agency registered a new case recently related to the defence land (in Srinagar) that was given “irregularly to private persons.”

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