Defence Research & Development Organisation’s estate officer for its Landour, Mussoorie, establishment has sent a complaint to the Central Vigilance Commission and CBI, alleging “fraud and corruption” that may prove to be “bigger than the Adarsh scam” had taken place in several properties in cantonment area.
ET had reported on Tuesday that Sanjay Narang, a businessman who owns several properties in Landour, and cricketing icon Sachin Tendulkar had met Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar regarding a dispute over a mountain resort.
False allegation, says Sanjay Narang
Tendulkar responded via his spokesperson on Tuesday, confirming the meeting but denying any ‘economic interest’.
Narang told ET on Tuesday: “There is no illegality in any of our properties. There is absolutely nothing illegal about the development work undertaken by me in Landour. I have restored and repaired old buildings within the guidelines and byelaws of the Cantonment.”
Central Bureau of Investigation and CVC officials said they had no comments to offer as of now. Narang also said he was not aware of the complaint to CBI.
When ET shared details of the complaint, he denied all charges. “I am not carrying out any activity which is unlawful, hence the question of serious fraud and corruption does not arise,” he said, adding that he has invested time and money to uplift the Landour community.
In the formal complaint sent to CBI by the DRDO estate officer, the allegations are of “illegal high-investment commercial activities”.
Among the properties named is ‘Dahlia Bank’, owned by Tendulkar’s friend Narang. Other properties owned by Narang have also been named in the complaint dated July 6.
Narang told ET the dispute around ‘Dahlia Bank’ was based on a “false allegation” by the chief executive officer of the Landour cantonment board, and made in “vested interest”.
In the complaint to CBI, the DRDO official has said several “illegal” guesthouses and hotels have come up in the cantonment area that has led to “encroachment of DRDO roads”, “destruction of green cover of the hills” and a “security threat to the lab”.
“There is a sense of systematic and deep-rooted corruption in the Cantonment to allow multibillion investments by big players in hospitality industry with covert protection for flourishing their business,” reads the complaint.
It blames establishments such as Tabour Cottage, Pine Tree Lodge and Landour Bakery as establishments flouting cantonment laws. “Majority of these guesthouses are owned by Mr Sanjay Narang, surprisingly all these within a span of 4-5 years.
Sanjay Narang also constructed a big mansion (Dahlia Bank) behind ITM (Institute of Technical Management) violating Works of Defence Act,” the complaint sent to CBI reads. “There is a serious fraud and corruption happening here, I wonder it may prove bigger than ‘Adarsh Housing Scam’,” reads the complaint.
Responding to the ET report on his meeting with Parrikar, Narang said he had set up the meeting in connection with an appeal he had filed for allowing construction at Dahlia Bank. He also confirmed that Tendulkar was present at the meeting.
“It is also incorrect that Sachin cut short his trip to Australia for meeting with the defence minister. Sachin was in Delhi attending the Rajya Sabha session and I requested him to join me for the meeting,” he said.
On the allegations by ITM that construction was carried out in a 50-metre zone around its campus without due approval, Narang said this was a false allegation by DRDO and that he had an RTI (Right to Information) response that said the premise was further away.
“Most important is the fact that we subsequently discovered (under a RTI application) that Dahlia Bank is actually over 70 metres from ITM premises and not within the 50-metre zone, hence the said notification is not applicable and there is in fact no need of an NOC (no-objection certificate) from ITM,” he said.
Tendulkar confirms meeting, denies ‘economic interest’
Cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar confirmed that he met Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in connection with a property dispute involving Sanjay Narang but denied any economic interests in Landour, where it is located. Aspokesperson for Tendulkar said he attended a meeting following which a formal written representation was submitted to the Ministry of Defence on a pending dispute regarding development undertaken in Landour by Narang.
“Mr Tendulkar has always maintained that the prevailing laws of the land should be upheld while giving a fair opportunity to all parties concerned to present their points of view,” the statement read. It added that Tendulkar has no present business relationship with Narang. In a separate communication to ET, Naraayan Kannan, vice-president of SRT Sports Management Pvt Ltd, said Tendulkar “usually stays at Mr Narang’s residence in Landour”.