Vigilance Inquiry Starts on DDA Corruption in Delhi Housing Societies
August 3, 2018
As the administrative systems in Delhi have completely collapsed, millions of residents are victims of frauds being committed by the corrupt managing committee (MC) members of different cooperative group housing societies in connivance with corrupt government officials.
This case is about corruption of Delhi Development Authority (DDA) in cooperative group housing societies.
By Rakesh Raman
Highlights of the Case
- Today, a crime syndicate is being operated by corrupt officials of Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Registrar Cooperative Societies (RCS) of Delhi Government, corrupt managing committee (MC) members in almost all cooperative group housing societies, and unlawful construction companies.
- As corruption has become the lifeblood of bureaucrats and politicians, they are not willing to stop corruption while millions of Delhi residents are suffering.
- As a journalist and social activist, I run an exclusive community-driven free online social service under the banner “Clean House” to help the suffering residents of Delhi raise their voice against the growing corruption in group housing societies.
- As I had complained about corruption in housing societies, the Vigilance department of DDA has informed me with its letter (given below) dated 24.7.2018 that it is ready to start the inquiry under directions from Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to investigate DDA corruption in Delhi’s housing societies.
- The inquiry is supposed to cover the cases of floor area ratio (FAR) construction projects and other illegal approvals that DDA has given. With a letter to the Vigilance department of the DDA, I have specified the terms of inquiry as a closed-door investigation will be meaningless.
- The DDA inquiry will also extend to external parties such as construction companies, agents, MC members of cooperative group housing societies, and others who are involved in the DDA corruption cases so that criminal proceedings could be initiated against them.
- Similarly, the Directorate of Vigilance (DOV) of Delhi Government has informed me that it has planned to start the inquiry against Mr. J.B. Singh, IAS and other officials of RCS office regarding corruption (in DPS CGHS case).
- As this is a case of white-collar crime, only the circumstantial evidence in terms of non-compliance of different official processes or statutes should be enough to nab the culprits at DDA office, RCS office as well as the MC members and their internal / external accomplices such as fraudulent firms and rogue residents.
- While Delhi High Court has ordered to stop FAR construction at a cooperative group housing society in Dwarka, DDA is expected to immediately stop the future and ongoing FAR projects, and demolish the existing FAR constructions in occupied housing societies.
- The main objective of the case is to get all the culprits – including government officials, MC members, supporting society members, and external vendors such as construction company owners, architects, etc. – prosecuted and jailed.
Corruption and Inquiry
The Office of the Chief Vigilance Officer of Delhi Development Authority (DDA) with its letter dated 24.7.2018 has sought my consent to carry out an inquiry on corruption by DDA officials in Delhi housing societies.
It was in response to my complaint to India’s top anti-corruption organization the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) in which I had explained specific cases of corruption involving DDA and MC members of housing societies.
In order to help the DDA Vigilance / investigation team with corruption details, I have also sent an updated 17-page report and a 10-page report that reveal the DDA corruption at multiple group housing societies of Delhi (including Bhagwati CGHS of Dwarka, DPS CGHS of Dwarka, and others).
I have urged DDA to stop the FAR (floor area ratio) construction in occupied group housing societies immediately as it is resulting in massive corruption and causing health hazards to millions of people with dust and noise pollution.
It is learnt that despite complaints from suffering residents, DDA is still giving FAR approvals because there is a huge opportunity for corruption in such extended construction projects which are replete with financial frauds and other irregularities.
There are cases in which the corrupt MC members of housing societies openly claim that they will bribe the DDA officials to get approvals for FAR construction. The plans of housing societies clearly violate the Unified Building Bye Laws (UBBL) and other regulations, but DDA gives approvals for such illegal projects.
In fact, DDA is deceptively helping the corrupt MC members to make their proposals in such a way that they could be cleared even when the violate the laws. In some cases, when DDA knows that some MC members of a housing society are facing multiple corruption inquiries, DDA accepts their FAR proposals without waiting for the outcome of such inquiries.
As corruption is rampant in DDA office, instead of giving approvals after a physical inspection of the site, DDA approves FAR construction plans based on mere undertakings given by a society’s MC and the architect. In other words, the MC members and architects bribe the DDA officials to get approvals on their illegal construction plans.
The MC members are also supposed to give an assurance that FAR construction will not disturb even a single member in the Society because the disturbance will violate Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, which assures the citizens of India the right to a healthy, peaceful, and clean environment.
The FAR construction is also breaking a number of other laws such as the Unified Building Bye Laws (UBBL), the Delhi Apartment Ownership Act, Delhi Fire Service Rules, National Building Code, and other regulations.
Moreover, FAR construction without the explicit, written consent of every member in the occupied group housing society is also a case of willful encroachment by the MC members which is a punishable offence.
The DDA officials are supposed to know all these legal intricacies. But they are giving construction approvals without following the right procedures to give undue benefit to corrupt MC members and builders. Similarly, corruption is also happening in Delhi Fire Service (DFS) and Delhi Urban Art Commission (DUAC) which are blindly giving approvals for FAR construction.
According to CVC, along with bribe, corruption also includes cases of favoritism and failure to follow the laid down processes leading to unintended benefit to someone or denial of benefit to the deserving.
Obviously, DDA officials as well as MC members and builders are committing acts of corruption by carrying out FAR construction in cooperative group housing societies.
As this is a case of white-collar crime, only the circumstantial evidence in terms of non-compliance of different official processes or statutes should be enough to prosecute and arrest the culprits at DDA office, RCS office as well as the MC members and their internal / external accomplices such as fraudulent firms and rogue residents.
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The corrupt DDA officials have gone so berserk that they have made a mockery of even the RTI (Right to Information) which is an Act of the Parliament of India. Under this Act, any citizen of India can seek information from a government department which is required to reply within 30 days.
In an RTI application, I had asked for the list of those occupied cooperative group housing societies for which FAR (floor area ratio) extension proposals have been received, approved, and rejected by the DDA during the years 2016 and 2017.
DDA informed me after many months through a letter dated May 18, 2018 that it does not have any such list in its record. How can it be possible that DDA has not kept the record of proposals that have been submitted to it? It shows the crude and dishonest way in which DDA works. FAR construction in occupied housing societies is a big racket supported by DDA. Unfortunately, DDA is not responding to my repeated complaints to get FAR construction stopped.
As all this rampant fraud is happening right under the nose of DDA Vice Chairman Udai Pratap Singh, the possibility of his involvement in crime and corruption cannot be ruled out.
Court Stops FAR Construction
Recently, even the court has observed that FAR construction is illegal. In an ongoing case of R. D. Apartments in Dwarka, the Delhi High Court has ordered to stop the extended construction activity which was being carried out under the dubious FAR policy.
While the construction activity has stopped before completion under court directions, the accused MC members of R. D. Apartments have got the building material removed from the Society premises.
It is pertinent to state here that the MC of R. D. Apartments managed to get the support of majority of the members by hook or by crook in favour of FAR construction. Only a couple of members approached the court to get the FAR construction stopped. And it is now stopped.
So this is a total falsehood being spread by corrupt MC members of housing societies that if majority of members want FAR construction, it can be done. Majority is not required to get FAR construction stopped. Just a couple of members or even one member can get it stopped.
In fact, MCs are not supposed to take any decision in the Society simply based on majority. And the General Body Meetings (GBMs) in societies are held in a totally fraudulent way even by bribing the voting members.
The court is also questioning DDA in this case, as the affected residents of R. D. Apartments have alleged that the DDA officials were bribed to get approvals for illegal construction. As the MC members as well as the residents who paid money for FAR construction are involved in the crime, they are expected to be prosecuted.
Moreover, under partial construction, ugly appearance of the building, and legal battles, the R. D. Apartments Society has become a disputed property. Now it is extremely difficult for flat owners to sell their flats and even tenants will not be interested to live in such a ruined building.
Conditions for DDA Inquiry
As most government inquiries are mere “eyewash” exercises in which no corrupt person is caught and jailed, I have specified the conditions for holding DDA inquiry to make it real and meaningful. The conditions include:
- DDA should publicly put on DDA website each and every step of the planned inquiry, names of the DDA officials who are facing this inquiry, names of investigation team members, all their verbal and written communications, and outcome of the inquiry at each step. DDA should send me the weblink of the DDA website page where it has uploaded the information about this inquiry. A closed-door investigation will be meaningless.
- DDA is also requested to stop the future decisions and reverse the already taken decisions regarding FAR (floor area ratio) and other construction approvals given in cooperative group housing societies by the DDA officials who are target of the corruption inquiry.
- In order to conduct the inquiry in a fair, transparent manner, DDA should suspend the accused DDA officials from their jobs before starting the inquiry and get the charge sheets filed against them in a time-bound manner.
- Moreover, DDA should publicly reveal the names of external parties such as construction companies, agents, managing committee (MC) members of cooperative group housing societies, and others who are involved in the DDA corruption cases so that criminal proceedings could be initiated against them.
I have also urged the Vigilance department of DDA to send me the reply of the DDA officials to my complaints and the inquiry so that – if required – I could file the rejoinder(s).
Criminality of MC Members
As MC members in various group housing societies are behaving like hardened criminals, they are using multiple methods to terrorize the innocent residents / members in order to get their support for crimes. These methods include:
- Demand of money for frivolous projects shown as cleared in the fraudulently held General Body Meetings (GBMs). If the residents refuse to pay money, the corrupt MC members arbitrarily impose 18% interest on them – which is illegal.
- Connivance with RCS office to get dissenting members expelled from their Society.
- Intimidation with false police complaints including allegations of “anti-national” elements against the residents.
- Secretly recording the movement of residents including women on CCTV cameras installed in the Society buildings to blackmail them.
- Using illegal third-party mobile apps at security gates of Society buildings to collect personal data including photographs of visitors including women who visit the residents.
- Forcing residents for distress sale (selling flats at low rates) in connivance with the dishonest builders.
- Asking residents to sign illegal bonds as their commitment to support MC members’ crimes in GBMs and otherwise.
- Refusing entry to residents in their own flats by giving informal instructions to security guards.
As most residents / members do not have knowledge and courage to oppose the criminality of MC members, they have succumbed and now live like slaves in their own houses under the atrocities of criminal MC members.
DDA Corruption and CVC Inquiry
Since DDA was not willing to stop FAR construction despite its lethality, I approached the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) – which is supposed to check corruption in government departments – with the request to investigate the role of concerned DDA officials in FAR projects.
After studying the case that I had sent, the CVC took cognizance of the matter and directed the Vigilance department of DDA to investigate it further. As a result, DDA has informed me that it has planned to take action in this case.
Corruption Case Study
If you want to know how corrupt MC members of a housing society commit various crimes and circumvent the law because of Delhi government’s weakness in stopping crime and corruption, you can study the case of DPS Housing Society in Dwarka.
Although there is a long way to go, this is a welcome step that DDA – which is known as one of the most corrupt departments in Delhi – has expressed its willingness to catch the corrupt officials.
Reports also suggest that DDA has planned to fix responsibility on its officials in cases of illegal construction activities and violation of the master plan and building bye-laws in Delhi.
In this regard, recently DDA placed an action plan before the Supreme Court of India. Attorney General K. K. Venugopal, who appeared for DDA, told the bench that rampant corruption is happening in DDA and stringent measures need to be taken to stop this corruption.
In its action plan, DDA has stated that it intends to check all ongoing and future unauthorised constructions in the city under the supervision of a Special Task Force (STF) which has been constituted following an apex court order.
Moreover, with an emphasis on preventive vigilance, CVC is developing an Integrity Index for critical organizations. Initially 25 organizations have been selected for the development of the Index. Obviously, because of its corruption, DDA is among these organizations.
The horrific DDA example shows that the government systems have stopped working completely while public complaints are falling on deaf ears. As a result, ordinary citizens are being forced to take the extreme steps to go to courts for relief. But if courts have to do everything, why do we need bureaucrats and politicians in the government?
Clean House Social Service
Today, millions of common residents in Delhi are victims of the terror unleashed by the corrupt managing committee (MC) members of different cooperative group housing societies.
In order to help the suffering residents raise their voice against the growing corruption and injustice in housing societies, I have been running a community-driven free online social service under the banner “Clean House”.
It works as an interface to inform the government departments and law-enforcement agencies in India and abroad about the cases of corruption and other criminal activities happening in group housing societies.
If you want “Clean House” to report about the corruption and illegal activities in your housing society, you may please contact me with relevant documents and details.
While the court has already intervened to save the people from FAR-based corruption and pollution, the Delhi Government including DDA must also immediately stop the future and ongoing FAR projects, and demolish the existing FAR constructions in occupied housing societies.
Moreover, the government should also start prosecution of the government officials at DDA and RCS offices, MC members of housing societies, and other abettors who are virtually trying to kill people with FAR-based construction and corruption. The objective should be to get all the culprits arrested and jailed. The sooner the better.
- The Vigilance department of DDA must start the inquiry to investigate the corruption of DDA officials, and publicly release its findings immediately.
- The RCS office must terminate the management committees (MCs) which are facing inquiries for financial or other irregularities so that their corruption at DDA could be stopped.
- The CVC and other law-enforcement agencies should start inquiries against the Registrar (J.B. Singh or some other current Registrar) and other officials at RCS office who are complicit in the crime.
- Similarly, the CVC and other law-enforcement agencies should start inquiries against DDA Vice Chairman Udai Pratap Singh and other DDA officials who are complicit in the crime.
- All the negligent or irresponsible officials at DDA and RCS offices must be suspended before starting the inquiries against them.
- Police and law-enforcement agencies should start the prosecution and frame charges against the DDA / RCS officials, guilty MC members, 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.
- Police and law-enforcement agencies should also investigate if there are cases of “assets disproportionate” to the known sources of income of DDA / RCS officials, MC members, and their internal and external accomplices. The investigation must also extend to their close relatives and / or inheritors.
Note: In order to thwart my anti-corruption efforts, the corrupt people are sending multiple threats to me. These include false police complaints against me, threats of physical harm to me, expulsion notices, legal notices, and slanderous attacks on my social as well as professional status. However, I am not deterred and I will keep fighting truthfully against their crimes and corruption to get the culprits arrested and imprisoned.
By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society.
About Rakesh Raman
Rakesh Raman is a government’s national award-winning journalist and social activist. Besides working at senior editorial positions with India’s leading media companies, he 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, he has been running his own global news services on different subjects. He also has formed an environment-protection group called Green Group in Delhi. He has created a comprehensive online information service to educate the Indian voters for the upcoming Lok Sabha election scheduled to happen in 2019.
He is also running a community-driven free online social service under the banner “Clean House” to help the suffering residents of Delhi raise their voice against the growing corruption and injustice in group housing societies where millions of people live. Recently, he has released a comprehensive research report on corruption in India.
He has formed a free Education and Career Counselling Center for deserving children at a poor J.J. Colony in Dwarka, New Delhi under his NGO – RMN Foundation.
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.
463, DPS Apts., Plot No. 16, Sector 4
Dwarka, Phase I, New Delhi 110 078, INDIA
You may please contact me on my email.
Disclosure: I have written this report not only as a journalist, but also as a victim of the fraud and intimidation happening at a housing society of Delhi. I am facing repeated threats because I have been raising my voice against corruption, lawlessness, environmental damage, and human rights violations.