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Auditor Claims India's Army Running Illegal Golf Empire


India's Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has found that the nation's Army is operating golf courses on government land but is not giving the state any of the proceeds from the facilities.

CAG found that at least 12 square miles of rent-free land were handed to a privately-run company, Army Zone Golf, which operates 97 luxury golf courses. India's Defense Ministry is the country's largest landowner, possessing 80% of the nation's government property, much of which is prime real estate.

The CAG report found that Army Zone Golf is selling golf memberships to present and past service personnel along with civilians and foreign nationals, with revenue credited to a private regimental fund that cannot be accessed by auditors.

Army authorities "earn large amounts of revenue by allowing persons other than service personnel to use these facilities," the report said. "Heavy amounts of revenues were being earned without paying any lease rent and allied charges for use of government assets," it added.

Army Zone Golf claims to promote the sport to the armed services and runs "some of the most spectacular golf courses of India," according to its website (http://armyzonegolf.com). According to the news service, AFP, no one at the company responded to their calls for comment.

The company is overseen by several retired army officers, and was once headed by Joginder Jaswant Singh, a former army chief of staff and now the governor of the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.

For AFP's full report, visit http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jAq_i-sI2D8WgcJEYbGRWj7Bq8WA?docId=CNG.1ea32901b8e59f3d5d3bfafc5c239a60.7c1.