Building collapse could have been prevented had CIC been heard

The tragic incident of Lalita Park could have been averted had the Delhi Government acted on the FIR lodged by Information Commissioner.

Updated: Nov 18, 2010, 00:39 AM IST

New Delhi: The tragic incident of Lalita
Park could have been averted had the Delhi Government acted on
the FIR lodged by Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi
with Delhi Police and letter sent to Chief Minister Sheila
Dikshit exposing "rampant" illegal construction in the city.

The Information Commissioner who had highlighted the
issue of illegal construction in the national capital through
his letters to Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Municipal
Commissioner K S Mehra, had last year gone to the extent of
filing an FIR with the Anti-Corruption Branch of Delhi Police.

"I came across number of cases during appeals
highlighting illegal construction in the national capital.
These constructions also underline collusion of MCD officials
with the builders. I have written to Chief Minister, MCD
Commissioner and even filed an FIR but no substantial action
seems to have been initiated by them," Gandhi told PTI.

In his letter to the Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit,
Gandhi had sent a list of 65 illegal buildings from "just one
zone" of the Corporation -- Shahdara South Zone -- and said
officials are working in nexus with the builders.

"Buildings upto four storeys have come up without even
applying for approval from Municipal Corporation of Delhi. It
appears that there is a clear modus operandi at work to
ensure that illegal buildings can be built without any
hindrance," Gandhi had written on November 2009.

The Information Commissioner had lamented that officials
turn a blind eye towards such constructions and "no cognisance
is taken of any complaints".

"It is clear from the scale and extent of the illegal
construction that they could not have been carried out without
some level of collusion with the MCD officials. The value of
these illegal and unauthorised buildings is likely to be a few
hundred crores," Gandhi had said.

He also highlighted alleged lack of "commitment" from the
Municipal Commissioner regarding illegal constructions in the
national capital. Seeing that his pleas with authorities were
not yielding any substantial results, Gandhi went on to file
an FIR with the Anti-corruption Branch under Prevention of
Corruption Act.

But here also he could get an assurance on February 25,
2010 that "investigations are in progress".

An ACP of Anti-corruption Branch had written to the Chief
Secretary that Gandhi "had filed the complaint with Police
Station Anti-Corruption Branch Government of NCT of Delhi
wherein it was alleged that RTI appeals before the Commission
have highlighted rampant unauthorised construction in
different parts of Delhi."

-PTI