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Updated: July 24, 2013 09:41 IST

Lokayukta pulls up civic body over illegal construction

Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar
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Manmohan Sarin
The Hindu Manmohan Sarin

Coming down heavily on the East Delhi Municipal Corporation’s report in an unauthorised construction case and saying that deliberate attempts are made to pass of new constructions as old, Delhi Lokayukta Manmohan Sarin on Tuesday questioned why no serious attempts are made “to ascertain the vintage of construction by scientific or engineering methods or from collateral records”.

“It appears to be an attempt to ‘save’ the properties by showing them as old, getting benefits under the provisions of the National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act,” he said, while passing an order on a complaint filed against a councillor.

The Lokayukta referred to the photograph of a building in Laxmi Nagar, which was produced by the Engineering staff, to state that while the image “shows it to be of recent origin”, the department used it to show that the construction was old.

Justice Sarin said in the line of public duty, he deems it fit “to apprise the Commissioner of East Delhi Municipal Corporation of the massive unauthorised construction going on and the need for corrective action”.

The Lokayukta asked the EDMC Commissioner to ensure that an independent enquiry and inspection of the buildings was conducted by an officer not less than the rank of an executive engineer from a different zone, under the supervision of the superintending engineer, and that the report is submitted to him for necessary action.

While dismissing the complaint filed by Mohammad Anwar against the Councillor as “non-maintainable”, Justice Sarin said “the office of the Lokayukta cannot by itself monitor numerous cases of unauthorised illegal construction and can only urge the statutory authorities to act”.

In the case against the Councillor, the Lokayukta refused to entertain the complaint holding it to be vague. Nonetheless, he took note of certain alleged illegal construction and called for a report from the EDMC on the same. Later, on receiving the report from EDMC, he termed it “tardy” and “unsatisfactory”. He said the report had noted that “properties from their look and also from local enquiry appear to be old” but some of the photographs presented in support of the claim suggested otherwise.

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