Income Tax (IT) department sleuths were busy over the last three days conducting raids in several cities in connection with “illegal farmhouses” bought by politicians, bureaucrats, judges and businessmen on a 482-acre plot of land belonging to Indian Air Force grabbed by two developers near Noida-Greater Noida Expressway.
The Delhi unit of the I-T department’s investigation wing raided 20 premises of developers in Delhi, Ghaziabad, Noida and Faridabad and recovered documents showing unaccounted transactions worth over Rs 200 cr and proof that half the of sale of farmhouses and plots in the area were through “cash”.
“A large number of bureaucrats, businessmen, some judges and politicians from Delhi-NCR, Haryana and Himachal have purchased farmhouses in cash,” said a top I-T source, adding “these buyers could be probed for cash transactions”. The I-T officials refused to disclose the names of politicians, bureaucrats and judges involved in cash purchases of farmhouses but a source said, “There are some big names”.
IAF had acquired the piece of land in 1950 under its Tilpat firing and bombing range in Faridabad and some villages of what was then Bulandshahr district. When the air force stopped using this floodplain falling under the jurisdiction of Noida Authority, farmers took up agricultural activities in the area. Later, the land mafia moved in and started constructing farmhouses.
Most of the farmhouses, which fall in Nangli Nagla and Nangli Sagpur villages on the Yamuna floodplains, have come up in the last five-six years and the area was being developed on the lines of Chattarpur in Delhi.
Top sources said that two developers, DPL Flora Farms (owned by Kamal Dutta) and Green Beauty Farms (owned by Dinesh Tyagi), were selling the farmhouses and plots here and buyers had been charged several lakhs/crores.
Tyagi’s Green Beauty Farms’ website still offers farmhouses/plots on Noida Expressway at the rate of 4,550 per square yard, with farmhouses ranging from area 1,000 square yard and above. He has reportedly been probed for other illegalities as well, including illegal mining in Haryana. DPL Flora Developers also lists sale of fully developed farmhouses on its website.
Following complaints in 2011 about encroachments on its land, IAF conducted an inspection and found that there was rampant encroachment, unauthorised cultivation, construction of illegal farmhouses, illegal plotting of land through the erection of barbed wire fencing, boundary pillars and brick walls and construction of kachcha and pucca roads and unauthorised cattle farms. In March 2015, Noida activist Ajit Singh had filed a PIL in Allahabad HC in the matter.