Putting at risk the lives of thousands of spectators, South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) mayor Savita Gupta had overruled officials to allow ODI cricket matches at the Feroz Shah Kotla despite incomplete safety norms, it has been revealed.
The information came to light on Tuesday during a hearing at the Central Information Commission (CIC) on RTI applications filed by activist Subhash Agrawal and cricketer Kirti Azad in connection with a completion-cum-occupancy certificate to be issued to Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA) for the 45,000-odd capacity stadium.
After going through the papers submitted by the SDMC, information commissioner Deepak Sandhu observed how the mayor "allowed the DDCA to hold cricket matches on January 6 and from February 22-26 at the grounds overruling the advice of the civic body officials as the cricket association had defaulted on structural safety and clearances from the fire department and the Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUCA)".
The DDCA also owes property tax of about R8 crore to the civic body.
"It is highly irresponsible of the mayor to give permission with remarks 'at risk and responsibility of DDCA' as if the civic body has no liability and responsibility," Agrawal said.
Gupta explained: "The officials asked me to give permission for the match as it was an important one between India and Pakistan. I couldn't ask them to stall matches even if they had not paid the property tax. (But) whether or not they had a fire NOC and a structural safety certificate, I have no idea."
Sneh Bansal, DDCA general secretary, justified: "The DUAC has asked for two foot-over bridges (FoBs) on two main roads outside the stadium. One side has a heritage monument (Khooni Darwaza) and the road on the other side is not wide enough to accommodate a FoB. Our submission is pending with the DUAC, and only after its clearance that we can go ahead with other formalities."