DDA denies housing fraud, politicians demand probe (Roundup)January 5th, 2009 - 11:49 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Jan 5 (IANS) The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) Monday strongly denied allegations of any foul play in the draw for over 5,000 flats, but politicians demanded a high-level enquiry into the alleged scam and the resignation of Minister of State for Urban Development Ajay Maken.Delhi Police, enquiring into the matter, said no “cognisable offence” has been found so far in the allotment process.
DDA’s Housing Commissioner Asma Manzar, addressing a press conference, said: “As far as the draw of lots is concerned, there is absolutely no possibility of any wrongdoing. We can assure you that no demand letter would be issued to any undeserving candidate.”
DDA had invited applications for 5,238 flats for which there were more than 566,000 applicants. The draw of lots took place Dec 16 last year after which several unsuccessful applicants alleged the draw was rigged.
Several media reports suggested that many applicants had used forged documents and there were irregularities in the information provided and discrepancies in the reserved category forms.
“We had made clear earlier that verification of documents would be done after the draw is completed. Before the draw, we scrutinised the forms on the basis of photographs, addresses and PAN cards,” Manzar said.
“The second round of scrutiny will start now. Let the process be completed and I assure you that not a single undeserving candidate would get a flat,” she added.
Manzar said the housing authority would take extra care in the case of reserved category candidates. “We will first call them and verify their documents and then double check the documents with the issuing authorities. In the case of general category applicants, we will verify their addresses, PAN card details and photographs,” she said.
Manzar said the DDA was ready to face “any investigation by any agency at any forum”.
DDA spokesperson Neemo Dhar said: “If any one is found with fake documents, their allotment would be cancelled, the amount will be forfeited and an FIR registered against them. We will try to issue the demand letters to the genuine successful candidates by January end.”
The DDA officials added that refund cheques of the unsuccessful applicants have been sent to them.
A Delhi Police officer said: “If we find any cognisable offence, we would register a case. But so far we have not questioned anyone. We are still in the process of collecting the information.” The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Delhi Police’s Crime Branch is investigating a complaint received Dec 16.
According to the complaint, some real estate agents allegedly connived with DDA officials under fictitious names to get the flats under the SC/ST quota.
Leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which heads the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), and the All India Confederation of Scheduled Castes and Tribes Organisation chief Udit Raj Monday demanded the resignation of Minister of State for Urban Development Ajay Maken over the alleged scam.
Udit Raj said, “Maken should resign till a probe into the allegations is completed - the CBI should carry out a thorough investigations.”
After media reports based on the account of Udit Raj, who alleged the whole affair was rigged, the housing authority’s draw came under the scanner.
The reports suggested that several applicants from Rajasthan whose names appeared as successful applicants had denied having applied. Other discrepancies like different people having submitted the same phone numbers were also reported.
BJP-led MCD standing committee chairman Vijender Gupta said: “After this housing scam has come out in the open, Urban Development Minister Ajay Maken should resign on moral grounds and there should be no less than a CBI enquiry.” He said he has written to the prime minister raising the demand.
Senior BJP leader V.K. Malhotra demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the alleged scam.
Udit Raj claimed that he got hint of the scam from an insider in the “property-dealing cartel”.
“This is a deep rooted team work,” he said, adding that many officials were in cahoots with property dealers in the scam.
Raj said: “We will hold a protest Jan 8. We want everything to be scrutinized in the public domain. The draw should be stopped and the CBI should probe the matter.”