Former official discloses 18 names in DDA housing scam

January 22nd, 2009 - 8:46 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 22 (IANS) M.L. Gautam, a retired officer of Delhi Development Authority (DDA) arrested for alleged irregularities in the allotment of over 5,000 flats and touted as the kingpin, has disclosed names of 18 financers and builders involved in the scam, the police said Thursday. “Gautam has disclosed names of 18 people who could be involved in the scam. We are neither trusting him, nor ignoring his claims. But we are verifying them,” said S.B.K. Singh, additional commissioner of police, Economic Offences Wing (EOW).

“We are keeping a close watch on all the 18 people, who are either businessmen or into the business of money lending,” Singh said.

He said Gautam has not named any other DDA official who could be involved in the scam.

DDA held a draw of lots for 5,328 flats, priced between Rs.700,000 to Rs.7.7 million, Dec 16, 2008, to choose from among more than 566,000 applications.

But Delhi Police began investigations after a man who was allotted a flat in the draw complained that he had neither applied for one nor had a permanent account number (PAN) card that was needed to apply.

The scam was unearthed first in the reserved category of Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST), but the EOW widened the ambit of probe by sending notices to all allottees in the general category Wednesday.

The police have so far arrested Gautam, real estate agents Raju Ram and Deepak Kumar, who allegedly blew the lid off the scam after falling out with the syndicate of real estate agents, and Lakshmi Narayan Meena, a resident of Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan.

The police have also arrested Dinesh Dral, a direct selling agent from west Delhi’s Dwarka, for allegedly opening a bank account on forged papers and providing financial help to Deepak Kumar.

According to police, the cartel has applied for over 1,200 flats under the reserved category after fraudulently obtaining the details of applicants from places like Jhunjhunu as well as Aligarh and Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh. The investigating agency submitted before the court that Gautam managed to corner 40 flats during the allotment.

“We are calling applicants who were allotted these 40 flats for further investigations into the case,” Singh said.

He said teams that were probing the scam in Aligarh and Bulandshahr have returned to Delhi, but nothing concrete has emerged to lodge a fresh case.

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