LDA ?plotters? gobble up green land
IT WAS an innocuous query by a Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) about the existence of a park that blew the whistle on one of the biggest land scams in the LDA.
An inquiry into the issue revealed that eight residential plots each measuring 623.50 square metre were carved out of the land that was earmarked for park in Sector G of Jankipuram housing scheme of the LDA! Even as the plot unearths spade by spade, it's sheer magnitude has left the department's bosses bewildered and LDA's coffer poorer by a whopping Rs 5 crores! The racket in which 164 plots were allotted fraudulently by replicating original payment challans of genuine allotees had its root in the Janakipuram housing scheme of the LDA. Among those whose conduct has come under a scanner in the rip-off are five joint secretaries three of who are PCS officers.
“While LDA Secretary Vijay Yadav has completed his part of the investigation into the scam, I have asked Finance Controller Mohan Yadav to look into the financial aspects of the fraud and submit a report,” said LDA Vice Chairman BB Singh. He said orders for registering FIRs and initiating proceedings for canceling all such fraudulent plot allotments had also been issued.
The Janakipuram housing scheme was mooted by the LDA in 1988. As per the Urban Planning and Development Act guidelines only 60 per cent of the scheme's total area is utilized for plotted (read residential) development and strengthening other civic amenities. The remaining 40 per cent is left green. In this particular case, the area that was left green comprised a long stretch over which a hi-tension power line criss-crossed the scheme. The hi-tension power line was subsequently shifted. The real estate value of the vacant green stretch was enough to lure in land sharks, who in connivance with LDA officials then hatched the plot.
According to an estimate, these land sharks gobbled up an approximately 24,600 square metre. “It was the depleting green belt area on the scheme's layout plan that first made us suspicious,” said an LDA officer. But the modus operandi employed by the scamsters became clear when we issued a notice to one Ajit Jafa for using the deposit challan of his plot number 2/13 in sector -H for procuring another plot 1/192-A in Sector F, he said. Ajit informed us that except for 2/13 he had never applied for any other plot nor made any payment in this connection, said the officer.
This prompted the LDA to probe allotments obtained similarly by other allottees and the investigations blew the lid off the scam.
“Action against 13 LDA officials including five joint secretaries has been recommended. As for the allottees, 15 of them have already coughed up Rs 14.78 lakh. Others too would have to pay up if they want to retain their property,” said the officer.
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