Corruption Case of DPS Cooperative Group Housing Society, Sector 4, Plot No. 16, Dwarka, New Delhi
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 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 – have 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 Housing Society 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.
- While the RCS office is soon expected to start the inquiry to unearth the financial and other irregularities in the DPS Housing Society, it is imperative for the RCS office to dismiss the MC of the Society to hold the inquiry in a fair, unencumbered manner.
Details of the Case
After years of dithering, the office of the Registrar Cooperative Societies (RCS) of Delhi Government has finally sprung into action to investigate the chronic corruption case of DPS Cooperative Group Housing Society (CGHS) of Dwarka in Delhi.
The RCS office has issued a show-cause notice dated October 16, 2017 under Section 61 of DCS Act 2003 to the managing committee (MC) of the Society in response to a legal complaint filed by the residents.
As the complaint was 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.
In fact, in its letter dated December 13, 2017, the MC has stated that in one of the cases in 2004-05, Rs. 55 lakh have been embezzled by the old MC members, although the total corruption money runs into crores of rupees.
The MC also decided to discuss this issue in the Annual General Body Meeting (GBM) of January 7, 2018 with the decision to file a “case of fraud” against the old MC members.
But why now? Various documents and Society records show that corruption and lawlessness have been persisting in the DPS Housing Society for the past at least 15 years – and it is happening even 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 show-cause notice by the RCS office, they have started blaming the previous MC members.
These MC members must know that a new MC is equally responsible for the corrupt practices of all the previous MCs if the new MC has accepted the financial irregularities of the previous MCs without any formal and transparent administrative and legal action against the previous MCs to recover the money lost in corruption. If the new MC has not taken any legal action against the erring previous MC, it shows its complicity in crime.
Suppose, for example, if a case of misappropriation of funds happened in 2006, all the subsequent MCs are responsible for it if they have not initiated any formal legal proceedings overtly to recover the lost money in such a case.
Therefore, in the ongoing case, the current MC is equally responsible for the frauds that happened in the past because the current MC never filed a “case of fraud” against the previous MCs. It has decided to file a fraud case now when the current MC members are themselves facing legal consequences.
DPS Co-op. Group Housing Society Managing Committee (MC) Members and Others to be Interrogated by the Anti-Corruption and other Law-Enforcement Agencies:
Current MC Members of DPS Housing Society:
- President: Neeraj Kumar Vaish
- Vice President: R. Balasubramanian
- Secretary: M.N. Sampathkumar
- Member: Ms. Leela Swami
- Member: Sandeep Taneja
- Member: Manguram Tyagi
- Member: Ms. Naseem Afshaque
Past MC Members of DPS Housing Society:
- President: Col M.M. Shukla (Retd.)
- Vice President: Neeraj Kumar Vaish
- Member: Ms. Geeta Gautam
- Member: Ms. Leela Swami
- Member: R.K. Saggi
- Member: H.L. Kaul
- Member: K.L. Narayanan
Past MC Members of DPS Housing Society against whom the government inquiry has been initiated through the RCS office and directed by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and the Directorate of Vigilance of Delhi Government. The MCs have still not responded to the inquiry. The MC members are:
- President: R. Balasubramanian
- Vice President: K.V. Varghese
- Secretary: Neeraj Kumar Vaish
- Treasurer: Sandeep Taneja
- Member: Ms. Leela Swami
- Member: Ms. Manjit Kaur
- Member: Gaurav Kumar Sood
Important: The inquiry must particularly focus on the fact that Neeraj Kumar Vaish, R. Balasubramanian, Sandeep Taneja, M.M. Shukla, Ms. Naseem Afshaque, Ms. Leela Swami have been holding MC positions repeatedly in successive MCs. What are their specific interests to stay in the MC which controls public money worth crores of rupees?
Others in Shady Committee(s) / MCs as per the MC documents
Dalip Rozekar, Lal Singh Thakur, O.P. Khanduja, Narinder Kumar, Madhukar Akhilesh, Sunil Chopra, Rajesh Rani Khanduja, Savita Jaiswal, Kusum Kathuria, Hardesh Muddar, I.S. Bhatia, R.C. Tewari, Vinay Verma.
The names and flat numbers of other gang members at DPS Housing Society 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.
Some of the people in the above list are / were working as employees with the government departments and private companies. The investigation agencies must inform their employers / government departments about their involvement in this case so that – depending on the extent of their involvement – the departmental action could be initiated against them.
More names of people and firms will surface during the interrogation of the MC members and their supporters.
Current Corruption and Illegal Activities
The current MC members of DPS Housing Society are trying to confuse the government and law-enforcement agencies by indicating that all the illegal activities happened in the past. But that is not true.
The current MC members have also been involved in a number of criminal cases for which they are facing investigations by various departments. 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 against the misdeeds of the MC members. I have not yet received the response.
In a detailed representation sent in September 2017 to Mr. J.B. Singh, Registrar Cooperative Societies and his predecessor Mr. Shurbir Singh, I had explained “Corruption and Lawlessness” at DPS Housing Society by giving specific document references and dates.
The ongoing cases in which the current MC members are involved include the following:
Labour Rights Violation: The current and previous MC members are facing investigations by police and law-enforcement agencies. As this is an extreme case of labour rights violation, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Home (Police) Department, and the Labour Ministry of Delhi Government have intervened to catch and punish the culprits. Click here for details.
Illegal Car Parking: As the illegal car parking obstructs the movement of fire brigade and ambulance in the case of emergency, it is posing a serious risk to the people living in the building.
The MC has even defied court orders and allowed illegal car parking to some members who, in turn, support the MC’s wrong decisions in GBMs and get them elected in elections. It is a quid-pro-quo case where the MC members are using illegal car parking as bribe to win the support of other law-breaking members.
When a few 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. Click here for details.
Fraudulent Appointment of Architecture Firm: 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 – which was hired without following the proper tendering process – in connivance with the MC members of the DPS Housing Society is trying to cheat people by coercing each flat owner (total 90 flats) to pay Rs. 4 lakh to Rs. 9 lakh for a dubious repair / construction project valued at about Rs. 15 crore.
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. In all probability the architect firm will pay this money as bribes to government officials to get approvals illegally.
In a letter dated December 7, 2017 with the subject “corruption in construction”, the Department of Law, Justice and Legislative Affairs of Delhi Government has asked the RCS office to take action in this case. Click here for details.
Corruption Inquiry: A group of members in the current MC is already facing a corruption inquiry directed by India’s top anti-corruption organization Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). The Directorate of Vigilance of Delhi Government – under CVC’s direction – had ordered the inquiry through the RCS office. Instead of responding to the inquiry, the MC members have been trying to stop the inquiry. Click here for details.
There could be many other cases of possible corruption at DPS Housing Society that the government needs to probe. The present and past MC members should be asked to explain the procedures to hire all vendors for, say, security services, generator maintenance, lift maintenance, repairs, etc. during the past over a decade.
The MC members must also be asked to explain the procedures that they followed to allow leading commercial companies such as Jio to enter the Society building and create their service infrastructure in the building.
Corruption: 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.
Attack on Freedom of the Press
On one side the RCS office has issued show-cause notice to the MC of the DPS CGHS as it has found “financial and other irregularities” in the working of the MC, on the other side the RCS office has strangely accepted the same MC’s frivolous proposal to expel me from the Society because as a journalist I am reporting about MC’s corruption.
I fail to understand how the RCS office admitted the complaint from MC members about my expulsion which is about attacking my journalistic duties. Who has given a Registrar of housing societies the authority to send an expulsion notice to a journalist for his editorial work?
As a journalist, I am regularly writing dozens of articles about corruption in India and abroad. And my work against corruption has been extensively covered by the leading newspapers of the country. Now should the affected parties approach this Registrar’s office to complain about my articles? Can this Registrar’s office send a punishment / expulsion notice to a journalist like me as it has done under the undue influence of DPS Housing Society MC?
The Registrar’s office has arbitrarily decided to attack my editorial freedom and my freedom of expression and speech guaranteed to me by the Constitution of India through Article 19.
Moreover, with my articles, I am exposing corruption to support Indian government’s efforts to weed out corruption from the country. Instead of appreciating and rewarding me for my anti-corruption work, the Registrar’s office has decided to cross the boundaries of its authority to punish me. The threatening letters from RCS office to harass me and call me to its office like an accused is a gross insult to my editorial and anti-corruption work. You can read my response to the expulsion conspiracy.
Need to Dismiss the MC
While the RCS office has now intended to start a new inquiry to unearth the financial and other irregularities in the 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. This is essential for the following reasons:
1. Keeping in view the record of the MC members, 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.
2. In their capacity as MC members, they are already misusing their authority to stonewall all investigations while they have indicated that they will use public money collected from Society members to defend themselves in various legal cases that they have been facing.
3. As the MC members have been taking the decisions arbitrarily in their personal capacity, they have no right to defend themselves as MC members.
4. Moreover, the MC members are not supposed to collect money from members and take any decision in the Society when the inquiry is about their “financial and other irregularities”. So, the said inquiry will not be fair if the MC members are allowed to hold their positions in the Society.
5. In a letter dated December 13, 2017 (signed by MC Secretary M.N. Sampathkumar who is an accused), the MC members have asked each member in the Society to pay them Rs. 2 lakh ostensibly for a FAR-based construction / repair project worth crores of rupees.
6. It will be against the tenets of natural justice if the MC members who are facing a legal inquiry for financial irregularities are allowed to collect more money from public for dubious projects such as massive construction or building repairs.
In all probability, the accused MC members – if allowed to hold their positions in the MC – will use part of this money collected from members to fight a number of legal cases that they are facing.
7. Some DPS Housing Society members who are paying such money to the MC are acting as co-conspirators who must face charges of abetment to crime. Moreover, they should not be returned the money that they have paid to the MC for illegal repair / construction project which has not even been approved by the DDA and other authorities.
The MC must be asked to release the list of such members who have paid Rs. 2 lakh or more for the said repair / construction project. The MC must also reveal the bank details where it has deposited this money.
8. It is important to note here that these are the same MC members who were involved in the misappropriation of funds case in the earlier repairs project worth over Rs. 30 lakh when they had a competing offer to get the same work done for just Rs. 4 lakh.
In that case, among other areas, the CVC-directed inquiry that RCS had ordered also seeks the MC’s explanation on financial matters including “spending excess money on buying of water from other sources.” While the RCS office had ordered that inquiry in 7 different areas in 2011, the MC members failed to respond.
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
9. But now when the RCS office has again decided to inspect the society records as stated in the said show-cause notice, the MC members may try to produce fake documents / vouchers to deceive the investigators.
The inspection of financial records must seek from the present and past MC members all the statutory financial documents, names of vendors, vendor selection procedures, payment terms, all related vouchers, expenditure processes, etc.
As the MC members have been defending their financial irregularities by showing only the income-expenditure statements and balance sheets, these documents cannot satisfy the inquiry, as they conceal more than what they reveal. These conventional financial books are meaningless in the absence of supporting documents / vouchers, explicit GBM approvals, and statutory purchase processes.
10. As these documents are mostly missing, the MC members should not be given any opportunity to stay in office and insert old-dated fake documents in the Society records and influence the key witnesses. If the MC members are allowed to hold their positions during the inquiry, it will be construed as a case of ‘obstruction of justice’ and will defeat the very purpose of the inquiry.
11. It has also been observed in the recent past that the current MC members were unethically recording the normal conversation with residents on the Society’s CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) and using that footage to harass those who opposed them.
If the MC members are not dismissed, they will again use their control over CCTV to threaten the members to win their support and get the inquiry findings in their favour.
12. The MC has been circumventing the law and hoodwinking the authorities (including Delhi Police and the inspectors of Labour Commissioner office in cases such as illegal car parking and labour rights violation) by saying that it is an elected body which is governed only by RCS office. Therefore, the RCS office must divest the MC of its powers that it has been using to commit various crimes.
13. As the MC members are facing a number of legal cases, they have arbitrarily appointed a lawyer with Society’s money (without any GBM approval) to defend their personal cases. It is also shocking to note that they are using the same lawyer to threaten the Society members who oppose the MC’s wrong decisions. The MC members must be removed from their positions in order to prevent them from taking such undue advantages.
14. As MC members have full control of the DPS CGHS website, they are misusing this communication channel to spread biased information and defame those members who oppose them. If they continued in their position, they will keep threatening the members and running website-based smear campaigns against those who are raising voice against their crimes.
So, 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. Similarly, to get an inquiry instituted against the government officials 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.
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.