CWG CORRUPTION WATCH: DDA purchase of flats under scanner – can India really nail the slippery corrupt in the UPA ?!! when, everybody knows that the dice is loaded and the deck is fixed ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
New Delhi, Oct. 20: The Centre today moved to freeze the Rs 183-crore bank guarantee the Commonwealth Games Village developer Emaar-MGF had submitted after a Delhi Development Authority (DDA) report accused the builder of irregularities and deficiencies in the construction of the complex.
The urban development ministry had instructed the DDA to submit a report on the structural defects in the Village, built at a cost of Rs 828 crore.
In a letter to the DDA vice-chairman, the urban development ministry today asked the civic authority to “invoke the bank guarantee and to initiate legal action against the project developer and also take such other steps as are deemed necessary for protecting the interests” of the authority.
Complaints against the developer range from poor water and power supply to the flats in the Village, plumbing problems, water seepage, malfunctioning lifts and flooding of basements.
“Such defects pertain to basement, lift pits, non-installation of required number of hydro-pneumatic pumps, water proofing of terrace, fixtures for balconies, inadequate power connection, choking of pipes and incomplete landscaping,” the report said.
The DDA report added that the developer failed to meet deadlines and make payments to water and power supply agencies.
In a statement, Emaar-MGF dismissed the charges. “The bank guarantee was extended till December 31, 2010, at the behest of the DDA. We have not received any notice for encashment of the bank guarantee as well,” the company said.
It said the Games Village was “built to the highest standard of quality and design” and that “the village received rave reviews from all participants who stayed there. All deficiencies pointed out by the DDA or any other agency were duly rectified by us.”
The company also denied that there were any outstanding dues to the Delhi Jal Board or the power suppliers and “all the project milestones were achieved as per our scope of work”.
It said the DDA and the Games organising committee should have rectified any problems that may have arisen after the Village was handed over.
Glare on bailout
The controversy has also brought under the glare the DDA’s role in giving a “bailout” package of over Rs 700 crore in 2009 to the company.
The builder had complained of a financial crunch because of global recession and the DDA had stepped in to buy 300 flats in the Games Village from Emaar-MGF. A government panel had then said the DDA paid Rs 90 crore too much, but the authority, which is under the urban development ministry, had said parking and other charges had to be factored in.
Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit had also blamed the DDA for the problems at the Village in the run-up to the Games when some foreign contingents had described the Village as “unliveable and filthy”.
The Comptroller and Auditor General today seized files on constructions projects carried out by the Central Public Works Department and the DDA. The agencies are also under the Central Vigilance Commission scanner.
Sources in the Enforcement Directorate said the ED would soon question the Games organising committee officials over allegations of violation of foreign exchange regulations during the organisation of the Queen’s Baton Relay in London in 2009.
The income tax department is said to be preparing a “family tree” of all senior officials, individuals and their relatives who bagged Commonwealth Games contracts.
CWG scam: Emaar-MGF under scanner, ED may summon Bhanot – step by step, row by row is the noose really getting tighter ?!!
From The Times of India
NEW DELHI, Oct 20, 2010, 09.41pm IST (AGENCIES): The Rs 183 crore bank guarantee furnished by Commonwealth Games village builder Emaar-MGF was on Wednesday ordered to be confiscated on charges of irregularities, as the ED prepared to question top officials of the Organising Committee for alleged foreign exchange violations.
A Rs 760 crore bail out package given by Delhi Development Authority(DDA) for Emaar-MGF, a private builder, also came under the scanner, sources said.
As the multi-pronged probe into alleged corruption and financial irregularities in the Games scam gathered momentum, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) seized files relating to various construction works carried out by CPWD and DDA.
Official sources said the Enforcement Directorate(ED) is likely to issue summons to top OC officials including secretary general Lalit Bhanot in a case of alleged foreign exchange violation related to the Queen Baton Relay in London. Bhanot said he has not received any summons by the ED.
Cracking the whip, the government ordered legal action against the private builder Emaar-MGF after the DDA detected “irregularities” and deficiencies in the Games Village.
The direction for confiscation of the Rs 183 crore bank guarantee was given by the urban development ministry to the DDA which had given the contract to the builder, ministry sources said.
The government action came a day after DDA submitted an interim report to the UD ministry in which it said there were “various deficiencies” and “irregularities” in construction of the Village and the builder had exceeded the permissible limits of construction.
Emaar-MGF on its part said the Village was built to the “highest standards of quality and design” and all the pertinent milestones were achieved as per their scope of work.
The company also said all deficiencies pointed out by DDA or any other agency were duly rectified by it.
The bail out package was provided by DDA which purchased 333 flats from Emaar-MGF. The package was said to have been worked out by the Delhi’s LG, who is the chairman of the DDA, and was cleared by the Centre.
BJP leader Sudhanshu Mittal, whose premises were searched by Income Tax officials on Tuesday in connection with irregularities in CWG projects, meanwhile refuted corruption charges and accused the government of making him a “political scapegoat” and indulging in “witch-hunt”.
Regarding the likely summoning of the OC top brass, official sources said the ED wants to confront them with certain documents that it has laid hands on.
The ED has already registered a case under Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) in this regard.
The ED has obtained a “fair amount” of details about the banking transactions undertaken by the Games body, the sources said.
A CAG team also picked up files pertaining to contracts awarded for public address systems, LED display boards and other communication systems for various Games stadia, sources said.
Mittal claimed that his company Delhi Tents and Decorative did business worth only Rs 29 lakh in CWG contracts out of the Rs 77,000 crore earmarked for various projects,
“I am being made a political scapegoat,” he said, adding neither he nor any of his family members were involved in corruption in CWG projects.
The Income Tax department was also preparing a “family tree” of all senior officials, individuals and their relatives who have bagged Commonwealth Games contracts and also of consortiums which entered into joint ventures with foreign entities to float firms.
As part of its probe into alleged financial irregularities in work related to the sporting event, the department, which conducted searches at almost 30 premises of business consortiums, including those associated with Mittal on Tuesday, has collected PAN card, credit card and bank account details of the officials and contractors.
Sources in the LG’s office said Tejender Khanna had directed the DDA to carry out a thorough audit of all transactions relating to expenditure in the Games Village.
The sources said that the bailout package was cleared after taking the approval of all the stakeholders concerned.
In August, the ED had questioned sacked CWG joint director general T S Darbari and suspended deputy director general Sanjay Mohindroo for several hours over alleged financial irregularities in connection with the mega event.