India

CBI to probe “irregularities” in leasing out enemy assets 

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered four separate cases on allegations that huge losses to the exchequer was caused by leasing out prime value land under the Custodian of Enemy Property for India (CEPI) on forged documents. Searches have been carried out at 40 locations.

Two separate cases involve 22 accused persons, including officials of the Custodian of Enemy Property department. As alleged, 54-hectares of commercial land located in Uttar Pradesh’s Sitapur, Barabanki and Lucknow were leased out at nominal rates in favour of the lessees through manipulation.

One case relates to some CEPI officials posted in Lucknow and Delhi conspiring with the beneficiaries and leasing out large tracts of prime high value land; forging and manipulating lease agreements in their favour; granting lease without any agreement; regularising occupation without the government’s approval; waiving lease rental arrears; and doing unauthorised out-of-court settlements.

On Thursday, in both the cases, the agency conducted searches at 19 locations in Lucknow, Barabanki, Delhi and Kolkata.

In the other two cases, 31 accused persons — including public servants — have been arraigned for allegedly conspiring to lease out prime high value land, measuring about 17 hectares, in Uttar Pradesh’s Noida Extension, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Ghaziabad, Kasganj and other places. It was alleged that the land parcels were given at nominal rentals, allowing illegal constructions by private builders. Lease agreements pertaining to enemy properties were also forged.

The agency said in these cases, 21 premises of the accused in Delhi, Kolkata, Ghaziabad, Kasganj, Bulandshahr, Greater Noida and Gautam Buddh Nagar were searched.

The CEPI, which is empowered to appropriate property in India owned by Pakistani nationals, is a statutory authority under the Enemy Property Act, and functions under the Ministry of Home Affairs. Its responsibility is to identity, declare, preserve, manage and take over enemy properties and dispose them of with the prior approval of the Central government.


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Printable version | Aug 8, 2022 5:07:40 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/cbi-to-probe-irregularities-in-leasing-out-enemy-assets/article65534158.ece