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Haryana

Hry lokayukta: Set up SIT on town planning dept decisions of 27yrs

December 10, 2019 06:11 AM

COURTESY TIMES OF INDIA DEC 10

Hry lokayukta: Set up SIT on town planning dept decisions of 27yrs
Ajay.Sura@timesgroup.com

Chandigarh:

In a landmark decision, the Haryana lokayukta has directed setting up of a special investigation team (SIT) to probe alleged irregularities committed by directors-general of the Haryana government’s town and country planning department (TCP) in the last 27 years. As per the order, the role of all the officers who served as directors-general of the department since 1992 has to be probed.


According to the lokayukta, some of officers of the department had favored colonizers/developers against the interest of home buyers in Gurgaon and became instrumental in illegal acts of the builders, which harmed the state welfare schemes and development.

The lokayukta was of the view that all these officers are liable for dereliction of duty and for not taking action in accordance with the statute.

The lokayukta said the SIT should comprise the senior-most district judge, senior-most IAS officer, especially an officer who has worked as secretary to the government, Haryana town and country planning department, and a senior bureaucrat.


‘Duty of govt to check & eradicate corruption’

The SIT should probe the role of officers responsible for effective implementation of provisions of 1975 and the rules of 1976 from 1992 onwards, including respondents and whosoever is found guilty to initiate stern departmental action under Rule 7 of the Haryana Civil Services (punishment and appeal) Rules against them and to punish them appropriately in accordance with law,” the lokayukta ordered.

The Haryana lokayukta, Justice Nawal Kishore Agarwal, passed the order while disposing of two separate complaints filed by Raman Sharma, a resident of Sohna in Gurgaon and Dr Vinod Kohli, chairman of the governing council, Federation of Malibu Towne Residents’ Association, Gurgaon. The lokayukta passed the order while observing blatant violations of the provisions of the Haryana Development and Regulation of Urban Areas Act, 1975 and Rules 1976 by these officers.

In a 47-page order, the lokayukta observed, “If prompt and deterrent action is not taken in time, then it will certainly harm not only the government but will encourage corruption. It is the duty of the government to check and eradicate corruption against any public servant, including those working on higher posts and law should prevail for all and there should not be any discrimination.”

The Haryana government has been asked to submit an action taken report on the matter within a period of three months.

In this case, the complainants had mainly alleged that former directorsgeneral, T C Gupta and Anurag Rastogi along with several other senior town planners and district town planning officers of Gurgaon district had abused their position to favour M/s Malibu Estate Private Limited and its developers/colonizers and caused undue harm and loss to property buyers and the state exchequer. They also alleged that these officers had failed to protect interest of property buyers due to close nexus between the department and the colonizers. They alleged that the colonizers had grossly violated provisions of the Act and rules as well as conditions of licence and had not completed development work in the colony as per approved layout plan.

During the hearing of the case, both the officers, T C Gupta, and Anurag Rastogi, had submitted their replies claiming that they had made efforts to remove illegalities committed by the builders/colonizers.

Referring to the defence of T C Gupta, the lokayukta, however, observed that the officer has done some paperwork only and no effective steps had been taken, rather by permitting the colonizer to work without renewal of licence, and by renewing the licence beyond time, he, in fact, had allowed the illegality to perpetuate.

On Rastogi’s defence, the lokayukta held that he along with other officers had allowed the builder to continue with the work, he renewed the licences of colonizers without verifying the facts and without taking any steps for cancellation of licence.

 

 
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