DEO Pune Takes Action to Reclaim Defence Properties Amidst Sale Concerns

Pune Cantonment Board

The Defence Estates Office (DEO) in Pune has launched a comprehensive effort to regain control of 16 properties in Pune and Khadki Cantonment areas following concerns about the improper sale of valuable Old Grant Bungalow (OGB) properties. Rajendra Jagtap, the Defence Estates Officer, confirmed the initiation of these resumption proposals to address issues related to unauthorized transactions and ensure compliance with government regulations.

Jagtap emphasized that the resumption process is crucial for specific defence purposes or in cases of serious violations. Despite not disclosing details about the current owners, he underscored the necessity of these resumptions to maintain the integrity of defence properties and adhere to government regulations.

The Defence Estate Office’s press release comes in the wake of over 45 cases of unauthorized sales of OGBs belonging to the central government, which were brought to the attention of the IGR office by former Defence Estates Director Saurav Ray. Ray had raised concerns about unauthorized constructions and sales of OGBs, urging government intervention to protect these valuable assets.

The DEO clarified that while superstructures (buildings) can be transferred under certain conditions, any sale or transfer without government approval violates these conditions, jeopardizing the government’s control over these properties.

The resumption process is governed by various regulations, including GGO 179 of 1836 and administrative instructions of the Ministry of Defence. The DEO stressed that mutation (administrative correction of records) does not create title, and transfer by sale without prior government approval is considered a violation of the old grant terms.

The government retains the right to resume OGBs if there is a need for the Army or if serious violations of grant terms occur. The DEO has initiated 16 resumption proposals, reflecting the government’s commitment to proper control and management of these valuable assets.

Press Release:

There are 202 OGBs/sites, in Pune Cantt & 48 in Kirkee, under management of DEO. These are governed by GGO 179 of 1836, different land policies, as well as administrative instructions of MoD. 4. Land always is of the Govt, only superstructure (Building) can be transferred subject to the following conditions of GGO 179 of 1836 :- 

Condition No. 3: When no objection occurs, the application is to be forwarded through the prescribed channel, by the Commanding Officer of the station, to the Quarter Master General of the Army, who, if the Commander-in-Chief approves, will submit it for the orders of Government. Condition No. 4 All such applications are to be in the annexed form marked A. Mutation of transfer of superstructure and occupancy rights by inheritance and will (without complications) can be approved by DEO concerned whereas the same by sale needs approval of GOI. Transfers by sale without prior approval of GOI is tantamount to violation of old grant terms which may be condoned by GOI on merits of each case as has been done in the past. Transfer, by any means, is Not alienation of land & there is no bar to transfer. In fact, there have been cases where prior or ex-post- facto permissions have been given by competent authority. 

5. Mutation is an administrative function to correct/update the records, so as to bring occupancy holder within ambit of terms of Old Grant & also to enforce these terms. Mutation does not create title. 

6. Transfer by sale, is done by Registrar/Sub-Registrars as per the rules of the respective State Govt. Registrar under Cantonments Act, has to intimate the DEO as & when such transaction is registered. If DEO finds any defect / lacunae, he takes up the matter with seller/purchaser to get it corrected/amended, including through registered admission deed upholding Govt. rights over land, trees etc. and Govt. right to resume the superstructure. DEO, time & again has taken up the matter with the Registrar Office to seek details of said transactions and continues & to do so. 

7. Government has the right to resume the OGBs, if there is a requirement for the Army or there is/are serious violations of terms of Grant. The discretion solely lies with Govt., based on merits of each case. Value of superstructure, in sale, is determined by the Registrar, as per their norms. It, however, has no bearing, when Old Grant is resumed as Govt gives compensation, based only on construction cost of the structure, assessed by MES, the Army Engineering Deptt. So even in sale transactions, value is very high, in resumption (taken back by Govt.), valuation is quite less (at times meagre), & is no burden on Govt. In DEO Pune Circle, 16 resumption proposals have already been initiated. 

8. Building plans of OGBs, are approved by Cantonment Board as per their bye-laws, only after seeking report from DEO, if the terms of Grant or of the land policy have not been violated. In Old Grant, views of local Army Authority are taken & in many cases of leased properties, GOC-in-Chief approves the plan. The procedure is well laid out. At any stage, during or after the plan is approved, it can be cancelled, if such violations are detected. 

1. As for issues highlighted – Valuation in sale / agreement to sale transactions, is assessed by the Registrar Office of State Govt & is only of superstructure, not of land. The DEO office has not come across any case of sale transaction of land so far. The Registrar Office has been reminded & is aware. High value sale deed has no impact when it is resumed, as compensation is assessed not on sale value but cost of superstructure assessed by MES, which is quite less. Valuation running into hundreds or thousands of crores, is not supported by any evidence/document; it is mere presumptive. Building plans are sanctioned only when the same are applied by recorded HOR. In case, sale transaction takes place before that & is intimated by Registrar, action is taken to cancel the plan & stop construction, which is one case as has already been done by Cantt. Board Pune. 

– There is no case of builders / developers seeking permission to make multistoried complexes in OGBs; sanction is given as per FSI / FAR, which is 0.5 for OGBs/leases under DEO management; its mere apprehension. 

10. It is reiterated that DEO (and Cantt. Board Pune) has taken action & continues to do so, to safeguard Govt. interest in OGBs.

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