DDF case: CBI suggests stern action but UT admn not in mood to follow

Kids of UT officers, who have to take action, study in schools run by DDF.

Chandigarh | Published: March 27, 2014 2:06:59 am
Building of Durga Dass Foundation where Strawberry Fields School is being run in Sector 24. (Photo: Sumit Malhotra) Building of Durga Dass Foundation where Strawberry Fields School is being run in Sector 24. (Photo: Sumit Malhotra)

Even while the Central Bureau of Investigation has recommended stern action against the Durga Dass Foundation in an ongoing criminal case against its directors, the Chandigarh Administration is dragging its feet over the issue and has not acted till date.

The lackadaisical attitude of the Chandigarh Administration is evident from the documents procured by the Chandigarh Newsline, under Right to Information Act.

More glaring is the fact that the original file pertaining to the allotment of the site in question, stands ‘destroyed’ in official records of the Estate Department.

Incidentally, children of several top bureaucrats at the helm of affairs who have to act against DDF in the case, are studying in DDF’s another high end school.

The fact came to fore, when CBI began probe into DDF’s affairs and sought certain record from the Chandigarh Administration that the latter replied that the original file has already been destroyed. The documents, in possession of Newsline, also reveal a series of official notings exchanged over a period of weeks, among a set of officers, for taking action on the CBI’s recommendations. However, action is yet to be initiated.

According to the documents, Finance Department on November 25, 2013 had sent a communication to the Estate Office for initiating the resumption proceedings. Communication addressed to the Estate Department, stated, “You are requested to initiate resumption proceedings against Bharat Sewak Samaj for breach of terms and conditions of Conveyance Deed executed by them on 31.3.1983 under the provisions of Section 8-A of the Capital of Punjab (Development and Regulation) Act, 1952.”

It further reads, “You are also requested to recover misuse charges from the lessee for duration of the misuse site as the same has not been used for the purpose which it was allotted. The action taken report may be intimated to this Administration within 15 days positively.” Four months after the communication was sent, the Estate Office is yet to initiate any action.

When asked about the reasons, UT’s Deputy Commissioner who is also the Estate Officer, Mohd Shayin, said, “Notice for initiating resumption proceedings would be sent to Durga Dass Foundation shortly.” Shayin’s reply was quite different on Tuesday when Newsline spoke with him regarding the case. On Tuesday, Shayin had claimed that he was yet to examine the issue.

Incidentally, Shayin’s children are students of Strawberry World School, Sector 26 that is also being run by the same set of people who are directors in the Durga Dass Foundation and Bharat Sewak Samaj. Confirming it, Shayin said, “Not only my children, but children of Home Secretary, Finance Secretary as well as the Assistant Estate Officer were also studying in the same school.”

The site in question was allotted to Bharat Sewak Samaj (BSS) in Sector 24 for ‘cultural and beneficient’ purposes, in 1968. In 1994, a trust —Durga Dass Foundation— was created under the chairmanship of Brij Khanna, with the trustees including his son Atul Khanna and other family members.

The CBI, in its report submitted to the Chandigarh Administration had stated that ‘the foundation started running a high end school and the profit earned was diverted by the accused persons for their personal use.’ CBI’s investigations have also revealed that the concerned accused never got any permission from the Estate Office for changing the land use of the site and started running a high-end school on the said site, in violation of law.

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