The Central Bureau of Investigation, on Monday, raided the homes of an Army officer deployed with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), a private individual and a few unidentified DRDO officials for allegedly usurping 12 acres of defence land worth Rs 500 crore in Bengaluru.
According to a report by the Times of India, the CBI sleuths conducted raids at seven places in Bengaluru, Kodagu and Hyderabad including the residence of Lieutenant Colonel Thimmaya.
CBI has booked Lt Col Thimmaya, who was the former estate manager in DRDO township in the city, N H Rustumji, a property developer, and other unidentified officials for cheating and criminal conspiracy, and also under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
According to a source in the CBI, the agency registered a case after a complaint was lodged by the Ministry of Defence.
In the complaint, the Defence Ministry states that the Karnataka government had notified to acquire 114 acres and 16.5 guntas (1 acre equals 40 guntas) of land in 1987. This area is located in KR Puramâ€™s Benniganahalli and was meant for DRDO use.
Again in 1989, the state government issued a final notification stating that only 97 acres would be notified for DRDO use. Sometime between 1994 and 1996, the Karnataka Government, without informing the DRDO, denotified 44 acres this land which was allotted for defence use.
When this came to light, the Union government had moved the Karnataka High Court, which had ruled in favour of DRDO. The case was contested in the Supreme Court by private landowners, who had bought the property, when the land was denotified.
As per the SCâ€™s ruling, of the 44 acres that were denotified, 2 acres and a quarter of a gunta would be transferred to DRDO. Also, 9 acres and three-fourths of a gunta was transferred to Rustumji.
According to the TOI report, Thimmaya and Rustumji allegedly entered into a criminal conspiracy between 2004 and 2006, and Thimmaya abused his official position.
â€śLt Col Thimmaya and Rustumji filed a joint memo with the Supreme Court in a land dispute matter. The allegation by the Defence Ministry is that the memo given by Lt Col Thimmaya was different from the one cleared by the Defence Ministry,â€ť a CBI Spokesperson told media persons.
The allegation is related to criminal conspiracy by the two men and other DRDO officials between the years 2004-06. The complaint alleges that Lt Col Thimmaya abused his official position and cheated the government by transferring the land in favour of a private person against the decision taken by the Ministry of Defence.