No criminality in land conversion, says CBI on DLF plan to construct apartment complex

New Delhi : The Central Bureau of Investigation  (CBI) has not found any criminality in the permission given to the country’s largest real estate company, DLF, to construct a high-rise luxury apartment complex in the vicinity of Rashtrapati Bhavan which had led to security concerns, reports PTI.

On the basis of a complaint received through the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), the CBI had registered a preliminary enquiry (PE) against unknown officials of Urban Development Ministry in July last year. The allegations pertained to conversion of land use from dairy farming to residential complex.

Highly placed CBI sources said on Tuesday that after finding no criminality in the case, the enquiry has been closed.                 They said the change in land use was a policy decision on the part of the government and allegations that officials favoured a private builder could not be substantiated.

The DLF had got the nod of the ministry to construct a four-storeyed luxury apartment complex on the land.

The company refuted allegations of any wrong doing saying these are in variance with facts, are false and baseless.

“M/s EKSPL was acquired by the company in a private transaction over a decade ago. The requisite approvals have been sought pursuant to court directions obtained after protracted litigation and by strictly following due process in this regard,” DLF said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

A single bench of the Delhi High Court had in 2010 had allowed EKSPL use of 9.26-hectare (22.9 acres) dairy farm in the vicinity of Rashtrapati Bhawan for residential purposes after depositing conversion charges of Rs 1200 crore with the government. During the hearing the central government had opposed the conversion citing security concerns saying that the area in question comes within the vicinity of Lutyn’s Bungalow Zone (LBZ) President’s Estate and involves security concerns.

The Union Government approached the Division Bench of the High Court, where it submitted the ground of security should have been weighed by the single judge bench of the High Court but the same has been totally brushed aside. The Division Bench said the Master Plan permits the use for residential areas and there are many other residential premises in the area.                   —PTI

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