‘Fraud in amnesty for illegal colonies’

A Delhi government report has found that officials broke all norms while offering amnesty to illegal colonies nearly four years ago and has called for a criminal probe to prosecute violators.

Written by Ravi Bajpai | New Delhi | Published: February 3, 2012 3:56 am

A Delhi government report has found that officials broke all norms while offering amnesty to illegal colonies nearly four years ago and has called for a criminal probe to prosecute violators.

The report submitted to the Chief Secretary last November has not been made public so far. Newsline obtained a full copy of the report through a Right to Information application.

Ahead of the state elections in 2008,Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s government offered assurance of amnesty to 1,239 illegal colonies that are home to nearly a fourth of the Capital’s electorate.

The government handed Provisional Certificates of Regularisation (PCR) to representatives of these unauthorised colonies,committing that the settlements will be declared legal in subsequent years after necessary formalities.

But the report by Divisional Commissioner Vijay Dev — who was asked by Dikshit to probe complaints of irregularities in cases of three colonies — found that the Urban Development department,which managed the scheme,“completely abdicated its responsibilities” and “conveniently ignored” amnesty guidelines.

According to the report,extensive government land was “collusively allowed to be encroached and subsequently PCRs were issued”,leading to land grabbers obtaining amnesty through bogus documents.

“As a result,virtually a carte-blanche (blank cheque) was given to resident societies to submit whatever they like and PCRs were issued without even bothering to find whether the proposal is hit by the fatal ineligibilities laid down under Clause 3 (of amnesty guidelines),” the report states.

Vijay Dev submitted this report to Chief Secretary P K Tripathi on November 23 last year. The government carried out an internal inquiry and last month,it decided to cancel amnesty offered to 73 colonies.

When her comments were sought Thursday on the findings of the report,Chief Minister Dikshit told Newsline,“I haven’t yet had the time to read the report fully. I will hold a meeting of all officials next week on the issue.”

So far,the government has not acted on many recommendations of the report,like the need to register criminal cases of conspiracy with an investigative agency into these “economic offences”.

“The agency may be asked to fix responsibility and proceed against various non-officials and officials of DDA,MCD,Delhi government for their collusion with land grabbers,” the report states.

Central government guidelines required Urban Development officials to verify that the colonies receiving the amnesty existed as on March 31,2002,and at least half the plots were built as on February 8,2007.

The report states officials could have verified this through the relevant aerial surveys that were available,but they ignored this process and instead issued certificates to colonies,stating that documents had been scrutinised.

The report also indirectly rubbishes claims by senior government officials that the amnesty certificates were only provisional and subject to a final scrutiny before the colonies were declared legal.

In the report,Dev states that the regularisation process drives the real estate market and vested interests “rob hapless citizens of lifetime earnings” on the basis of these provisional certificates.

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