CBI searches premises of ex-DRDO official, real estate firm in land case

CBI searches premises of ex-DRDO official, real estate firm in land case

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday conducted searches at seven places, including the residential and official premises of a lieutenant colonel and a private builder.

Searches were conducted on Lt Col M G Thimmaya, who was the then estate manager of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in Bengaluru and N H Rustumji, the developer. The case pertains to transfer of 12.1 acres of land in favour of Rustumji against the decision taken by the Ministry of Defence.

Searches were conducted at Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kodagu which led to recovery of incriminating documents.

CBI sources said that Lt Col Thimmaya had transferred 12.01 acres of land worth around Rs 500 crore to a real estate giant Rustumji which resulted in huge loss to the government. CBI registered an FIR under sections 120 (b), 420, of IPC and sections 13 (2) and 13 (1) of Prevention of Corruption Act.  
Government of Karnataka had acquired 113 acres and 16.9 guntas of land in Benniganahalli in KR Puram hobli for the use of DRDO. The final notification in this regard was issued in May 1989 declaring only 97 acres of land. In the period between 1994 and 1999 the state government de-notified about 44 acres of land without informing DRDO.

Aggrieved, DRDO challenged the de-notification before the Karnataka High Court which upheld the contentions of the organisation. The matter was contested before the Supreme Court and the petition was disposed of in October 2004 based on a joint memo filed by the parties. The Supreme Court ordered that the matter could be amicably settled by both the parties, with DRDO and the land owners getting 50% of the acquired land.

However, during 2004-2006, Lt Col Thimmaya, Rustumji and others entered into a criminal conspiracy and misrepresented facts in the joint memo, different from the one approved by the competent authority. Sources said Rustumji had produced 30 general power of attorneys (GPA) on behalf of the original land owners. Several GPAs submitted by Rustumji had no mention about the extent of land or survey numbers. For his part, Thimmaya consistently misrepresented facts to DRDO headquarters in Delhi claiming he was transferring the lands in compliance of the Supreme Court order.

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