In a development that could further sully its image, the Union Ministry of Defence (MoD)has been embroiled in a major land scam in Andhra Pradesh, involving the transfer of 15.30 acres of prime real estate in favour of the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA), without securing prior approval from the President.
And the HCA, which is affiliated to the Board of Control for Cricket in India, (BCCI) wanted to build a stadium, cricket school and a club on the government property worth a whopping Rs 120 crore. However, the HCA had to pay a mere Rs 1.88 crore and an annual rent of just Rs 13 lakh to get hold of the prime property.Meanwhile, the documents accessed by Express on April 12, 2013 revealed that a worried MoD had asked the HCA to return the land within a month.
Sources said Union Defence Minister A K Antony has also asked the Additional Director General of Defence Estates (ADGDE) to probe the matter and submit a report for further action.
“Antony has ordered that strict action must be taken against the officials concerned for the irregularities in executing the land agreement to allegedly benefit a private association,” they said. The MoD decision communicated through its April letter revealed the details of a conspiracy allegedly hatched by some government officials. According to the missive, the ministry had sanctioned 5.71 acres of defence land in Secunderabad Cantonment to the HCA on June 2, 1992, for a 60-year period.
During the same period another 9.59 acres of land was transferred to the HCA, under a deal executed by the MoD for a period of five years on payment of `1 per annum. However, the agreement with the HCA was cancelled by the ministry on the orders of of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on February 23, 1996. Surprisingly the ministry did not take back the possession of the land after the then Defence Secretary wanted to recover the outstanding dues from the HCA before taking any action.