NEW DELHI: The LG-appointed chief of Delhi government’s Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB), M K Meena, on Monday ordered a probe against Chetan Sanghi, principal secretary (vigilance), after an RTI activist complained to it alleging that Sanghi had ordered conversion of 360 plots from leasehold to freehold without the approval of DDA and LG.
The latest development comes soon after ACB launched inquiries into the setting up of the 1031 helpline and demanded files from the government.
The ACB registered a preliminary inquiry in the case after activist Vivek Garg submitted a complaint demanding an FIR against Sanghi and other officials of DDA, Delhi State Industrial And Infrastructure Development Corporation (DSIIDC) and industries department who could be involved in the case.
Sanghi dismissed the allegations. “All approvals, as were required, have been taken. No rules have been flouted. In Delhi, nobody can transfer leasehold properties to freehold without proper approvals,” he told TOI. In a press release, DSIIDC said: “It is clarified that the conversion to leasehold to freehold has been done following all the laws and after seeking due approvals of the competent authorities. The scheme for conversion from leasehold to freehold was introduced by the ministry of urban development of Government of India and duly approved by the Hon’ble LG of Delhi. All cases of leasehold to freehold conversion have been done after receipt of due conversion charges approved by the Hon’ble LG from each applicant.”
In his complaint, Garg has claimed to be the whistleblower in the transport scam related to the Delhi government and also asserted his association with the disclosures in the 2G scam, CWG scam etc.
The complaint says that the industries department had in March 2006 “passed/introduced/brought” a scheme for conversion of industrial plots/built-up sheds from leasehold to freehold. The scheme covered all built-up industrial plots developed by the industries department and DSIIDC, including industrial sheds belonging to DDA and allotted by DDA to DSIIDC on a leasehold basis.
“In a meeting held in 2009 in the chamber of the then minister of industries, it was decided that the DSIIDC will make a formal reference to DDA for all the eight industrial areas, namely Lawrence Road Industrial Area, DSIIDC sheds, Nangloi, Mangolpuri Industrial Area, Okhla Industrial Area phases I and II, Kirti Nagar Industrial Area, Jhilmil Industrial Area and Wazirpur and Narela industrial areas. As per information, no formal reference was made by DSIIDC to DDA,” said the complaint.
The complaint alleges that during 2011-12, when Chetan Sanghi was the CMD of DSIIDC, 350 industrial sheds in seven areas were converted from leasehold to freehold “in a highly irregular/improper manner by the accused for obtaining wrongful gains by abusing their official position”. As the sheds were constructed by DSIIDC on land allotted by DDA to the former on a leasehold basis, the ownership of the land remained with the DDA, argues the complaint. “As DSIIDC is only the lessee, it had no legal authority to allow conversion,” said the complaint.
The complaint claimed that DSIIDC had at a meeting with the DDA on April 23, 2015, admitted that about 250 more cases of conversion of industrial sheds were pending with DSIIDC and had been put on hold as it was not competent to carry out conversion being the lessee.
Garg has alleged that since the ownership of the land remained with the DDA and it had only been allotted to DSIIDC on a leasehold basis, on which the DSIIDC had constructed the industrial sheds, “the corrupt officials of industries department, DSIIDC, without taking any formal approval from the DDA and also without placing the matter before the lieutenant governor, being the competent authority, went ahead, and have so far, unlawfully carried out 360 cases of conversion since 2010 onwards.” These include 16 double-storey sheds for which there is no policy of conversion, it has been alleged.