Role of Chandigarh Housing Board officials under CBI lens

  • Gurpreet Singh Chhina, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Oct 27, 2015 23:25 IST
A view of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) flats in Sector 63, Chandigarh, on Monday. (Gurminder Singh/HT Photo)

The role of the senior officers of Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) has come under the scanner as the CBI claimed that the prima facie it appeared that the Sector 63 housing project of the board got delayed as the board was lenient towards the contractor.

The CBI team that had raided the CHB office in Sector 9 on Monday kept scrutinising the records of the project till 4am on Tuesday. The CBI sleuths seized the records related to tender allotment, material procurement and official decisions taken to favour the contractors. The CBI said that official communication among different functionaries of the board suggests that some officials showed little urgency in getting the project completed early to favour the contractor.

The CBI said that the contractor who had been assigned to complete the construction in 18 months delayed the project beyond the accepted time limit, still the CHB officers didn’t impose a penalty on him.

A senior official of CBI said that though they has not registered a case into the matter, the picture would be clear during the scrutiny of the official communication about the role of the officers.

Key points in preliminary investigation

The Sector-63 general self-financing housing scheme-2008 was supposed to be handed over to allottees within 18 months when the work started in 2010. Five years down the line, the project is still incomplete.

Sources said there were eight blocks of which six were given to a single contractor, resulting in delay. The CBI is trying to figure out what made the CHB to decide that a single contractor should do the job.

As per the rules, penalty should have be imposed on the contractor delaying the project, which was not done.

It was also learnt that sub-standard material was used in the construction. The CBI has seized documents related to material procurement.

Documents related to testing reports of the material used have been seized. CBI will figure out where the board conducted quality tests.

The agency says a number of the allottees had sold the flats to make money as the scheme was launched when there was boom in the realty sector. The CBI wants to figure out if any officer was involved in it.

CBI video-graphs project site

The CBI has video-graphed the project site in Sector 63 to know how much work has been completed and what still needs to be done. The agency has also filmed the material and brand names. The CBI says elevators are yet to be installed and there is no power connection. Under the project, 2,108 flats were to be constructed — 336 three-bedroom, 888 two-bedroom, 564 one-bedroom and 320 EWS flats.

Why no penalty for delay

The CBI said the board should have imposed a penalty ranging between 2% and 7.5% of the project cost on the contractor for delay, which was not done. Instead, the project deadline was extended from time to time on flimsy grounds allegedly to favour the contractor.

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