LDA crackdown has mafiosi on the run
SATURDAY?S CRACKDOWN by the Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) enforcement squad against the illegal occupants of Nehru Enclave had both the mafiosi and their lackeys, who had holed up inside the colony, on the run.india Updated: Apr 16, 2006 01:24 IST
SATURDAY’S CRACKDOWN by the Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) enforcement squad against the illegal occupants of Nehru Enclave had both the mafiosi and their lackeys, who had holed up inside the colony, on the run.
In the three-hour-long operation flush-out, the LDA team, led by executive engineer YK Jain and property officer KK Singh, evicted several illegal occupants and took back the possession of as many as 130 flats.
In the process, the LDA officials, rather inadvertently, blew the lid off of a flourishing property racket being run by some of their own colleagues in the colony. Members of the enforcement squad were stumped when a woman residing in Rupayan 19 told them that she was paying a monthly rent of Rs 3,500 for the past year-and-a-half to an LDA employee Ram Kumar Verma.
The modus operandi is simple. By depositing just the booking amount, which is 10 per cent of the total cost of the property, some of these LDA employees have taken possession of these flats and rented them out for hefty sums.
“Yes, I have heard about this. I would be imposing a heavy penalty on these employees, which would be deducted from their monthly salary,” said LDA Vice-Chairman BB Singh when informed about the in-house property racket.
Since the eviction drive had been publicised in advance, most of the anti-socials had locked their illegal dwellings and bolted when members of the enforcement squad, accompanied by a truckload of PAC men, arrived at the scene at around 11.30 am.
Residents of Premayan block complained about the presence of brothels and even pointed out the flats from which they were being operated but the Lucknow Development Authority officials expressed their inability to be of any help in the matter as the apartments in question, though sub-let, were duly allotted.
“We have checked our records and possession of these flats has been given by the department to their rightful allottees. It is now for the police to take action on the basis of the residents’ complaints,” said both Jain and Singh.
The first stop was the block that houses Premayan type flats occupied illegally by daily wage earners. They were told to collect their belongings and beat it even as the staff of LDA’s property section put their own locks on the doors of these flats. Things were moving smoothly till the LDA officials decided to head towards the Rupayan block, which houses the affluent. Calls from the mafia dons and political leaders started pouring in on their cell phones even as a former student leader of Lucknow University Ram Singh Rana appeared on the scene along with a bunch of gun-toting cronies.
The operation, however, continued. A search of R 215 flat led to a haul of several packets of black salts along with gunny bags carrying the label of Gope Tea Estate. Likewise, an air-conditioner in R 67 not only demonstrated the financial status of its illegal occupant but also the fact that they had abandoned the premises in haste. “We have given time till Monday to the remaining encroachers and will resume the drive on Tuesday,” said Jain.