Defence land scam: ED attaches Rs 59.52 crore assets of CSITA

New Delhi, Sep 9 : The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached assets worth Rs 59.52 crore belonging to the Church of South India Trust Association (CSITA) which is accused of “dishonestly” entering into an arrangement for transfer of the title of defence land measuring 7426.886 square meters.

The CSITA entered into the arrangement for transfer of the title of the defence land with the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL), a Government of Karnataka undertaking. The 7426.886 square meters land was earlier leased to All Saints Church.

The attached assets are in the form of fixed deposits maintained and available with the State Bank of India, Sudhamanagar Branch, in the name of CSITA.

An investigation under the provisions of the PMLA was initiated on the basis of a First Information Report (FIR) registered by Bengaluru Police against CSITA for dishonestly entering into the arrangement for transfer of the title of the defence land.

A part of the precinct, where the All Saints Church is located, was transferred to BMRCL against a compensation of Rs 59.29 crore in 2019. The BMRCL acquired the land through the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board.

The ED probe revealed that the title of the land belonged to the Ministry of Defence and it was only leased out to All Saints’ Church for conducting religious affairs of the church and no proprietary right of the land was ever transferred to the Church.

“The CSITA illegally transferred the land belonging to Defence authorities to BMRCL. The compensation for the land required to be paid into the Consolidated Fund of India as the rightful owner of the land is with the Ministry of Defence,” the ED said.

The CSITA not being the rightful owner of the land illegally barged into the issue of the defence authorities and transferred the property and obtained the proceeds amounting to Rs 59.29 crores from BMRCL, the agency said.

Accordingly, identified assets to the tune of Rs 59.52 crore including accrued interest on the amount received were provisionally attached under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 by the ED.

–IANS

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