DPS Cooperative Group Housing Society (DPS CGHS or DPS Housing Society), Plot No. 16, Sector 4, Dwarka, Phase I, New Delhi 110 078.
- While the managing committee (MC) of DPS CGHS has been facing multiple government inquiries related to corruption and illegal activities, the accused MC members are again trying to cheat the Society members by asking each of them to pay lakhs of rupees for an illegal construction project. It will give them another opportunity to embezzle public money worth crores of rupees.
- These MC members have also indicated that they will bribe the officials of Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and other government departments to get approvals for the construction project with the help of a fraudulently appointed architect firm.
- With a slew of illegal activities, the DPS CGHS MC members have made a mockery of the law while the government is not able to control them.
Reported by Rakesh Raman
Highlights of the Case
- I am a government’s national award-winning journalist and social activist. After working at senior editorial positions with leading media companies, now for the past about 7 years, I have been running my own global news services. I am also the Founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation, which is working in the areas of environment protection, anti-corruption, poor children’s education, labour rights protection, and political communications.
- I also run an exclusive community-driven online editorial section under the banner “Clean House” to help the suffering residents of Delhi raise their voice against the growing corruption and injustice in different group housing societies.
- Corruption and lawlessness have been persisting in DPS Housing Society for the past about 15 years and as a resident I have been fighting for the past about 10 years to expose all illegal activities in DPS Housing Society.
- I have approached different government departments and top law-enforcement agencies urging them to intervene in this case. Responding positively to my representations, departments such as India’s top anti-corruption organization Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Directorate of Vigilance, Office of the Labour Commissioner, Home (Police) Department, Law Department, and the Labour Ministry of Delhi Government have intervened to catch and punish the culprits at DPS Housing Society.
- In order to thwart my anti-corruption efforts, during the past couple of years the DPS Housing Society managing committee (MC) members have sent multiple threats to me. These include false police complaints, threats of physical harm to me, expulsion notices, legal notices, and slanderous attacks on my social as well as professional status.
- These MC members – who are facing a number of government-instituted corruption investigations – strangely influenced the RCS office to get me expelled from the Society because my news articles highlight the corruption at DPS Housing Society. This is an attack on my editorial freedom and my freedom of expression and speech guaranteed to me by the Constitution of India through Article 19.
- Despite threats, I continued my anti-corruption efforts. In September 2017, I sent a detailed representation to Mr. J.B. Singh, Registrar Cooperative Societies (RCS) and his predecessor Mr. Shurbir Singh. I sent the same representation to CVC and explained “Corruption and Lawlessness” at DPS CGHS by giving specific document references and dates.
- In October 2017, the RCS office issued a show-cause notice under Section 61 of DCS Act 2003 to the MC of the Society in response to a legal complaint filed by the residents. The complaint included references to my anti-corruption work against the MC. In its show-cause notice, the RCS office has stated that it has found “financial and other irregularities” committed by the MC of the Society.
- In its letter dated December 26, 2017, the RCS office has also asked the current MC members to respond to 11 different representations that I had filed in different government departments against the misdeeds of the MC members.
- The current MC members have admitted that corruption and other illegal activities have been happening in the Society. But the current MC members – who are facing multiple investigations – have cleverly put the blame on the old MCs.
- In a letter dated January 14, 2018, the MC members constituted a sub-committee of ordinary residents to investigate an old “case of fraud” involving Rs. 55 lakh. It is a cover up attempt to deceive the Society members because the total corruption amount is estimated to be crores of rupees and corruption has been persisting even today under the current MC.
- Surprisingly (as stated in the said letter dated January 14, 2018) these MC members – who are facing corruption charges – are again coercing each flat owner to pay them Rs. 2 lakh as the first instalment for an illegal construction project worth crores of rupees for which they have paid a building permit fee of Rs. 1.41 lakh to DDA.
- While the illegal construction project is being pursued with the help of a fraudulently appointed architect firm, the DPS CGHS members have indicated that they will bribe the DDA officials and others to get approvals by using “liasioning fee” (another name for bribe) paid by some law-breaking residents in the Society.
- As the Registrar Cooperative Societies (RCS) office of Delhi Government is soon expected to start the inquiry to unearth the financial and other irregularities in DPS CGHS, it is imperative for the RCS office to dismiss the MC of the Society to hold the inquiry in a fair, unencumbered manner.
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 (DPS CGHS), 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 CGHS 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.
The RCS office also has issued a notice dated October 16, 2017 under Section 61 of DCS Act 2003 to the DPS CGHS MC in response to a legal complaint filed by the residents.
As the complaint is about the financial and other irregularities committed by the MC of the Society, after examination of the allegations the RCS office observed that it is necessary to inspect the records of the Society.
Although the current MC has admitted that financial frauds have been happening in the DPS Housing Society, it has blamed the old MC members for the misappropriation of funds and other felonies.
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.
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 and other authorities. One fails to understand if the MC’s project proposals / drawings are genuine and legal, why it is paying Rs. 8 lakh as liasioning fee for getting the statutory approvals.
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.
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.
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.
Subsequently, 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 Architect Firm
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.
In an extremely deceptive assertion, the MC – in its letter dated January 14, 2018 – has asked some hidden “Strategic Planning Group Members” (their names not mentioned) to assist it in “finalizing Tendering Process in selection of Civil Engineering Vendor and Project Management Consultant (PMC).”
But in the same letter (dated January 14, 2018), the MC has stated: “As per appointed PMC, the plans are under submission to DDA for approval” for FAR extension.
Contradiction: On the one hand the MC says that it has yet to finalize the tendering process for the selection of PMC, but on the other hand it says that it has submitted its plans to DDA as per the appointed PMC.
If the PMC has not yet been selected then what is the role of Vivek & Arti Architects firm and which PMC has helped the MC submit its plans to DDA? Clearly, MC is cheating people in order to grab their money for the illegal construction project.
If the DDA tries to approve such a fraudulent construction plan of DPS CGHS, the DDA officials will be hauled up for complicity and connivance in crime.
Illegal FAR Construction Projects
It is said that DDA is arbitrarily bending its rules to give approvals for illegal FAR construction projects which violate building bye laws such as UBBL-2016, Master Plan of Delhi (MPD), and many other mandatory bye laws.
As the FAR construction projects are spreading lethal dust and noise pollution in the inhabited housing societies where people are living, they are illegal because they violate the Article 21 of the Constitution of India, which assures the citizens of India the right to live in a clean, healthy environment. The violation of these laws is an illegal activity and serious offence even if the majority of members in a housing society support FAR construction.
As I have been running major environment-protection campaigns in Delhi and formed a Green Group to save the environment, I have informed various environment-protection and pollution-control agencies about the harmful effects of construction in inhabited housing societies where people are already living.
On my request, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) had written to Vice Chairman DDA about the lethal dust and noise pollution that such construction is spreading. But DDA seems to have ignored DPCC’s advice and FAR construction is happening in housing societies.
Meanwhile, in order to oppose the FAR construction, the residents of a group housing society in Dwarka have filed a writ petition in January 2018 in the Delhi High Court.
Among other pleas, it is stated in the petition that approvals by DDA and other departments for FAR construction are in violation of Article 21 of the Constitution of India along with other violations, and these approvals are against the national policies, as they abuse the policy implementation by methods of misinterpretation, hiding facts, and misrepresentation.
It is learnt that the MC of the housing society could not file its reply on the due date in the court while the petition has demanded action against the concerned government authorities including DDA, MC members, architect firm, and Society members who paid money for FAR construction.
Research Report on Corruption and Lawlessness
in Delhi’s Housing Societies
Similarly, in the DPS CGHS case, it is important to note that the Society members who are paying money to the MC for illegal FAR-based building extension / repairs project are, in fact, participating in the fraudulent scheme for which they may face the legal consequences for abetment to crime.
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 and external parties.
Current and Past Corruption
Meanwhile, according to the letter dated January 14, 2018, the DPS CGHS MC has constituted a sub-committee of some ordinary residents to investigate an old “case of fraud” involving Rs. 55 lakh.
The letter states that the General Body approved the suggestion of a resident Dilip Rozekar, and Vipul Khullar, Ravinder Sharma, and Madhukar Akhilesh volunteered to be the part of this sub-committee.
Along with a number of old MC members who are allegedly involved in the said fraud, the names of two external vendors (M/s. Builtwell and M/s. Reliable Transmission) have been mentioned in the MC’s letter.
It is surprising to note that instead of allowing the comprehensive probe planned by the RCS office into the financial irregularities of the DPS CGHS, these four residents / members (Dilip Rozekar, Vipul Khullar, Ravinder Sharma, and Madhukar Akhilesh) are interested only in one case of corruption worth Rs. 55 lakh which is also supposed to be covered in the RCS inquiry.
The investigation agencies must question these residents / members about their competence to hold such a financial inquiry as well as their motivation and links with the MC members to cover up the inquiry already planned by the RCS office.
The formation of this perfunctory sub-committee is a cover up attempt by the MC to deceive the Society members as well as authorities while the total corruption amount is not just Rs. 55 lakh that is stated in MC’s letter.
Rather, the estimated amount of money lost in corruption is crores of rupees while corruption has been persisting in DPS CGHS for at least 15 years and it is happening even today under the current MC. I have separately submitted the details, document references, and dates of corruption cases at DPS CGHS in the RCS office, CVC office, and other law-enforcement agencies.
In its letter dated December 26, 2017, the RCS office has asked the current MC members to respond to 11 different representations that I had filed in different government departments against the corruption and illegal activities at DPS CGHS.
The RCS office had directed the President / Secretary of DPS CGHS to submit their response within 7 days. But so far I have not received any response, although more than a month has elapsed from the date of the RCS letter.
Besides financial corruption, other illegal activities at DPS CGHS include labour rights violation, criminal intimidation, illegal car parking, arbitrary hiring of vendors without following transparent financial procedures, and secret deals with commercial companies such as Jio to allow them to set up their service infrastructure in the Society building.
Moreover, various documents and Society records show that corruption and lawlessness have been happening in the past as well as now under the current MC.
However, successive MCs have tried to cover up all unlawful activities and corruption under some clandestine understanding with each other. The financial records of the Society carry numerous discrepancies.
Moreover, many financial documents are either missing from the Society records or have been criminally destroyed by the MC members who have full control of the records. But the successive MC members have been accepting the account books without any objections and without any effort to get the corruption money recovered.
Now when the current MC members were issued the inquiry notice by the RCS office, they have started blaming the previous MC members and in a cover-up attempt formed the sub-committee of some random residents to investigate only a single case of corruption.
Since corruption is also happening under the current MC, the RCS office has issued a notice dated October 16, 2017 under Section 61 of DCS Act 2003 to check the financial and other irregularities to the current MC of DPS CGHS.
As the MC members are known for their corrupt practices, it is highly likely that they will tamper with the existing documents or add fake documents in the Society records in order to mislead the inquiry officers.
Therefore, in order to ensure a fair inquiry, the RCS office must dismiss / dissolve the DPS CGHS MC immediately before starting the inquiry. The RCS office should also appoint an honest administrator to run the day-to-day affairs of the Society.
- To get an immediate stay / restraining order against the present DPS Housing Society managing committee (MC), prohibiting it from taking any decision and carrying out any work in the Society.
- To get the present managing committee (MC) dismissed through the office of Registrar Cooperative Societies (RCS) of Delhi Government.
- To get a government administrator appointed through RCS office 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 the inception of the Society.
- To get the prosecution started and charges framed against the guilty MC members (past and present) and their internal and external accomplices under Prevention of Corruption Act, Consumer Protection Act, Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, and other legislations which are aimed to reduce corruption and increase transparency and accountability.
- To investigate if there are cases of “assets disproportionate” to their known sources of income since the present and past MC members have been controlling public money worth crores of rupees. The investigation must also extend to the close relatives and / or inheritors of the present and past MC members.
- To get the list of members who have recently paid Rs. 2 lakh or more to MC for the illegal FAR construction / repair project so that their money could be forfeited and deposited in Society funds. These members should also be treated as co-conspirators who must face charges of abetment to crime.
- To get the investigation extended to other gang members at DPS Housing Society. Their names and flat numbers are given in the attached document. The police and law-enforcement agencies must question their roles in the racket being run by the MCs of DPS CGHS.
- To get an inquiry instituted against the government officials who have failed to take any action in the DPS Housing Society case despite repeated complaints from the suffering residents / members and multiple directions from the higher authorities.
- To get an inquiry instituted against the government officials from departments such as DDA and RCS who may help the MC of DPS CGHS in future, as it will be construed as a case of complicity or connivance in crime.
Note: If it is beyond the powers of the RCS office to frame certain charges against the present and past MC members, their relatives, and / or others involved in the crimes, the RCS office should send these cases with its observations to other competent law-enforcement agencies.
The RCS office should also put this entire DPS CGHS case (including documents, details, and future proceedings) on its website so that other housing societies could learn from this horrific case.
I am a government’s National award-winning journalist and social activist. Besides working at senior editorial positions with India’s leading media companies, I had been writing an edit-page column for The Financial Express, a business newspaper of the Indian Express group.
Nowadays, for the past about 7 years, I have been running my own global news services on different subjects. I also have formed an environment-protection group called Green Group in Delhi. And I run a free school for deserving children under my NGO – RMN Foundation.
I am also running an exclusive community-driven online editorial section under the banner “Clean House” to help the suffering residents of Delhi raise their voice against the growing corruption and injustice particularly in group housing societies where millions of people live.
I have created a comprehensive online information service to educate the Indian voters for the upcoming Lok Sabha election scheduled to happen in 2019.
Earlier, I 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.
Disclosure: I have written this report not only as a journalist, but also as a victim of the fraud and intimidation happening at DPS Housing Society. I am facing repeated threats from the MC members and their supporters because I have been raising my voice against corruption, lawlessness, environmental damage, and human rights violations.