Corruption in Construction: DPS Housing Society MC Appoints Architect Firm Fraudulently

Illegal car parking at DPS Cooperative Group Housing Society in Dwarka, New Delhi can cause fire mishaps. Click the photo to read the story. Photo by Rakesh Raman, May 2017.
Illegal car parking at DPS Cooperative Group Housing Society in Dwarka, New Delhi can cause fire mishaps. Click the photo to read the story. Photo by Rakesh Raman

DPS Cooperative Group Housing Society, Plot No. 16, Sector 4, Dwarka, Phase I, New Delhi 110 078.         

Despite a number of complaints by the residents over the past many years, the office of the Registrar Cooperative Societies (RCS) of Delhi Government is not taking any action in this housing society case.

By Rakesh Raman

Rakesh Raman
Rakesh Raman

According to the new Vigilance Manual 2017 of India’s top anti-corruption organization Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), corruption is manifested in various forms such as bribery, nepotism, willful action or willful inaction to benefit someone or to deny benefit to someone known or unknown. It also states that corruption includes cases of favoritism and failure to follow laid down processes leading to unintended benefit to someone or denial of benefit to the deserving.

While the illegal activities at the DPS Cooperative Group Housing Society, Plot No. 16, Sector 4, Dwarka, Phase I, New Delhi 110 078 are increasing rapidly, here is another case of corruption in construction.

This case is about the fraudulent involvement of an architect firm Vivek & Arti Architects in a massive construction project in the Society. The architect firm in connivance with the managing committee (MC) members of the DPS Housing Society is trying to cheat people by coercing each flat owner to pay Rs. 4 lakh to Rs. 9 lakh for a repair / construction project valued at about Rs. 15 crore.

It is pertinent to mention here that the MC members of the DPS Housing Society are already facing a corruption inquiry directed by Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). The Directorate of Vigilance of Delhi Government – under CVC’s direction – ordered the inquiry through the Registrar Cooperative Societies (RCS) against the MC of the Society. The inquiry was scuttled without giving any reason.

CVC Inquiry Letter References:

RCS: F.47/Coop./1350/GH/SW/2011/7051 dated 4.5.2011

Directorate of Vigilance: F.27/2/2011/DOV/1080 dated 15.2.2011 forwarded by CVC

CVC: O.M. No. 1716/10/8/104428 dated 01.10.2010 and O.M. No. 1716/10/8/117161 dated 24.01.2011

Although all the details of the CVC-directed inquiry should be available on the RCS website as well as the DPS Housing Society’s website, these are missing from both the sites.


IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

I have started an exclusive editorial section to highlight the cases of corruption and other illegal activities in Delhi’s cooperative group housing societies and Delhi Government’s failure to stop corruption and lawlessness in these societies. If you want me to report about your housing society, you may please contact me with relevant documents and details. Click here to visit the editorial section. Rakesh Raman


Illegal Construction Project

The new repair / construction work is being planned by the MC of DPS Housing Society in a totally corrupt manner under the ambiguous FAR (floor area ratio) building extension policy. The proposed FAR extension / repair project that the MC is pursuing is worth crores of rupees and will continue for many years in the inhabited Society building.

It will give the MC members (and external parties such as builders, architect firms, etc.) another opportunity to swindle public money, as it is arbitrarily forcing each flat owner to pay lakhs of rupees for building extension / repairs without following any statutory financial and procurement procedures.

Moreover, the planned construction will also damage the environment, as it will spread lethal dust and noise pollution which will harm the health of children, men, and women, including senior citizens living in the building. [ Click here to read the report ]

Connivance with Vivek & Arti Architects

As per the contract document dated July 16, 2017, the MC President Neeraj Vaish even agreed to pay a huge Rs. 8 lakh as “liasioning fee” to the architect firm for getting approvals from DDA (Delhi Development Authority) and other authorities. One fails to understand if the MC’s proposals / drawings are genuine and legal, why it is paying Rs. 8 lakh as liasioning fee for getting the statutory approvals.

Contract document signed by the DPS Housing Society President Neeraj Vaish to pay Rs. 8 lakh as “liasioning fee” to the architect firm.
Contract document signed by the DPS Housing Society President Neeraj Vaish to pay Rs. 8 lakh as “liasioning fee” to the architect firm.

In all probability the architect firm – which is becoming a partner in MC’s crime – will pay this money as bribes to government officials to get approvals illegally because the MC’s proposals / drawings for the proposed construction project violate the “Unified Building Bye Laws (UBBL) for Delhi 2016”.

The other residents of Dwarka also allege that the DDA officials are involved in corrupt practices and giving approvals for illegal FAR-based construction projects. [ Click here to read the report ]

The immediate past and present MC members of DPS Housing Society have committed many other felonious acts such as ambiguous advertisement and faulty tendering process in the appointment of the architect firm.

The MC has not followed the right process to hire the architect firm Vivek & Arti Architects. The advertisement / tendering process for hiring the firm was flawed and the details including quotations of competing firms have not been revealed.

As per MC’s letter dated March 5, 2017, the MC had assigned work to Vivek & Arti Architects – even before the architect hiring process began with a misleading advertisement in April 2017.

Misleading Advertisement Released by the MC of DPS Housing Society
Misleading Advertisement Released by the MC of DPS Housing Society

The MC did not even mention the Society name, address, and scope of work in the said advertisement and only a private phone number was given for contact. The advertisement was part of a perfunctory exercise aimed to deceive the authorities as well as the Society members while the MC had already decided to hire Vivek & Arti Architects. The MC signed the contract with Vivek & Arti Architects even later in July 2017.

Later, in its letter dated August 2, 2017, the MC of DPS Housing Society informed the residents that M/s Vivek & Arti has been appointed as architect to submit design with regard to strengthening, replacement of external sewerage fittings, repair and extension of the Society’s building structure.

But the MC never informed about the method to calculate the cost of repairs / construction and started demanding Rs. 4 lakh to Rs. 9 lakh from each flat owner (total 90 flats in Society) with the indication that the cost will escalate.

Moreover, the MC could not explain how it can calculate the cost when its drawings / proposal have not been approved by the DDA and other departments. While the MC started demanding money from residents before getting approvals, clearly the intention of MC members is to cheat the residents / consumers.

Fraudulent Appointment of Vivek & Arti Architects

The MC has given the details of the firm as: Vivek Malhotra, Architect, COA No: CA/89/12072, Registered Valuer: Cat-I/478/127/2003-2004 of B-3/55, Janakpuri, New Delhi: 110 058 with contact 9654787858.

In its earlier letter dated March 5, 2017 before releasing the advertisement for the appointment of architect firm, the MC had stated that M/s Vivek & Arti Architects and Spline Engineers & Consultant Pvt Ltd. carried out extensive / intensive audit of structures / flats and had submitted their final investigation report.

While the exact role of Spline Engineers & Consultant Pvt Ltd. is not yet clear, it is certain that the MC of DPS Housing Society has appointed M/s Vivek & Arti Architects fraudulently without giving the opportunity to other firms to compete in the tendering process.

As the MC is known for its corrupt practices, it got its decision approved in the bogus General Body Meetings (GBMs) of the Society. It is a case of total fraud.

The residents / members of DPS Housing Society have formally expressed apprehensions about the illegitimate appointment of M/s Vivek & Arti Architects and its possible connivance with the MC of the Society with the aim to swindle public money in the planned construction project. The MC could not explain the reason for appointing the architect firm Vivek & Arti Architects in a fraudulent manner.

It is important to note that the Society members who are paying money to the MC for this illegal building extension / repairs project are, in fact, participating in the deceptive scheme for which they may face the legal consequences.

The DPS Housing Society MC should release the names of such members who have paid money for this illegal activity so that the anti-corruption and law-enforcement agencies could take a suitable action against them along with the MC members.

Mysterious Protection from RCS Office

During the past about a decade, the successive MCs of DPS Housing Society have been committing numerous illegal activities under the mysterious protection that they enjoy from the RCS office.

As an excuse to protect the lawless MC members, the RCS office gives a big importance to the decisions of the General Body Meetings (GBMs). But despite receiving numerous complaints from the affected members, the RCS office has refused to realize the fact that GBMs have become a big fraud at DPS Housing Society.

For example, the MC’s permission to allow illegal car parking to about 40 members is a kind of bribe to those members to win their vote and support in elections and GBMs – and thus get even the illegal decisions approved by the majority of members – which is in fact a group of law-breaking members.

Similarly, to fraudulently win members’ support, the MC has allowed illegal building alterations in individual flats. Thus, all GBMs which are mostly attended by such law-breaking members are bogus. Multiple objections have been raised by the aggrieved members about the faulty process of holding GBMs but strangely the RCS office has always ignored them.

When a group of senior citizens requested the RCS office to save them from dust and noise pollution that will come from the planned construction activity at the DPS Housing Society, the RCS office again did not take any action against the MC members.

Similarly, when a couple of months ago Delhi Police – under the directions from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) – came to check illegal car parking in the DPS Housing Society building, the MC members hoodwinked the police by saying that only RCS rules apply on them.

Strangely, Delhi Police accepted this weird argument and did not bother to get the illegal car parking stopped. The illegal parking in the building is posing a serious risk to people living in the Society, as it is preventing the entry of fire-fighting vehicles and ambulances in emergency situations.

Although the Assistant Director (Vigilance) of the Delhi Police informed the RCS office, the RCS office, as usual, did not take any action against the MC of DPS Housing Society.

In a recent case of labour rights violation, Delhi Government’s office of Labour Commissioner has issued a notice dated 25.9.2017 to the MC. The notice is addressed to the President of the Society Neeraj Vaish while other past and present MC members (such as present Secretary M.N. Sampathkumar and past President M.M. Shukla) are also accused in the case.

The MC ignored the Labour Commissioner office notice with the excuse that it will only follow RCS orders. Although RCS office has been formally informed about this labour exploitation case, it failed to take any action against the MC members. People fail to understand the secret behind RCS officials’ extreme attachment with the MC members of DPS Housing Society.

Society Election and Corruption

The DPS Housing Society MC members are committing all unlawful acts under the garb of an ‘elected body.’ The MC members boast that they have come unopposed in the MC office. That has been happening for the past many years for no honest person wants to contest election and become part of the MC because of the persisting mess in the Society’s accounts.

Only greedy people whose eyes are on making easy money become MC office bearers and scuttle all attempts to get Society financial records investigated by the authorities.

While there are numerous cases of financial irregularities in the Society, a previous President of the Society M.M. Shukla (who resigned under mysterious circumstances without completing his term) has been openly circulating multiple documents about extreme corruption in the Society during the past over a decade.

For example, in his letter dated June 23, 2017, the current Secretary Sampathkumar has reiterated Shukla’s claims about misappropriation of Society funds worth Rs. 54 lakh (actually the total estimated amount lost in this particular alleged case of corruption will be in crores of rupees including the interest costs.)

That means the present as well as past MC members are aware of chronic corruption in the Society. However, instead of formally reporting the matter to the authorities and law-enforcement agencies to get the financial irregularities investigated right from the inception of the Society, they have become part of the racket.

Obviously, when corruption has become the buzzword in the Society, the honest Society members are scared to contest the election and become MC members. The old MC members who are responsible for administrative and financial irregularities come again and again in the MC.

And Delhi Government’s RCS office which is supposed to ensure honesty and transparency in the Society, has deliberately turned a blind eye to all the malpractices happening in the DPS Housing Society.

The MC members also boast about their connections with the politicians, police, and authorities indicating that no action can be taken against their frauds.

Shockingly, that may be true. Despite their visible wrongdoings, the RCS office and other government departments have not taken any action against the MC members.

Take Action, Punish the Culprits

Now, the RCS office must immediately dismiss the MC of DPS Housing Society and appoint a government administrator for investigating the past and ongoing corrupt practices by the successive MCs of the Society. This should also include a Special Audit of Society’s accounts right from its inception so that the guilty could be caught and punished according to various civil and / or criminal laws of the country.

Also, a notice must be issued to M/s Vivek & Arti Architects asking the firm to stop its involvement in DPS Housing Society until the investigation is complete.

More importantly, an inquiry must be instituted against the officials of Delhi Government’s RCS office who have failed to take any action in the DPS Housing Society case despite repeated complaints from the suffering residents / members.

The investigation should cover the following people:

  • Current MC: Neeraj Vaish, R. Bala Subramanian, M.N. Sampathkumar, Ms. Leela Swami, Sandeep Taneja, Manguram Tyagi, Ms. Naseem Afshaque.
  • Previous MC: M.M. Shukla, Neeraj Vaish, Ms. Geeta Gautam, Ms. Leela Swami, R.K. Saggi, K.L. Narayanan, H.L. Kaul.
  • Society members who are paying money to the MC for the illegal building extension / repairs project.
  • Vivek Malhotra of M/s Vivek & Arti Architects.
  • The present Registrar Cooperative Societies (RCS) of Delhi Government Mr. J.B. Singh, his predecessor Mr. Shurbir Singh, former Special Registrar Mr. Indu Shekhar Mishra – who have not taken any action against the law-breaking MC members despite dozens of representations from the residents. Both – Registrar and Special Registrar – have also ignored the CVC-directed inquiry.

More names of people and firms will surface during the interrogation of the MC members.

The entire case of DPS Housing Society is explained at the following link:

[ Humanitarian Crisis Persists at DPS Housing Society in Delhi ]

Link: http://www.ramanmedianetwork.com/humanitarian-crisis-persists-at-dps-housing-society-in-delhi/   

By Rakesh Raman, who is a government’s National award-winning journalist and social activist. He has formed an environment-protection group called Green Group in Delhi. Earlier, he had been associated with the United Nations (UN) through United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) as a digital media expert to help businesses use technology for brand marketing and business development. He also runs a free school for deserving children under his NGO – RMN Foundation.

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