The probe into alleged conversion of agricultural land into residential plots at Narela here has indicated that in several cases unscrupulous property dealers acquired land adjacent to old unauthorised colonies to merge the newly developed pockets with them, thus projecting them to be a part of the same settlement.
The Anti-Corruption Branch of the Delhi Government has identified several plots that are close to old colonies and can be shown as their old extensions. “Such a conversion of agricultural land and illegal construction on them are not allowed from February 2007 onward,” said an official.
The agency suspects that those involved adopted various modus operandi for this in connivance with certain officials of the Revenue Department and other related agencies. In several cases, they allegedly obtained permission to build boundary walls and even sheds on different pretexts.
In fact, police sources said they had prepared a report on the illegal constructions in and around Narela about three weeks ago. Photographs of the sites were also taken. “We identified several cases in which people had obtained permission from the area Sub-Divisional Magistrate to construct boundary walls. The permission may have been granted in good faith as boundary walls are allowed for different purposes, including poultry and daily farming. However, many people have carried out unauthorised constructions under that garb,” said a police officer.
“The new illegal constructions can also be facilitated by prolonging civil litigations on complaints. By the time a decision is arrived at, the constructions are well in place,” said another official, stating that illegal land conversions were continuous offences until restored to their original position.
“As per rules, the police should report any illegal construction activity to the SDM concerned. The SDM can then initiate proceedings against the accused directing him to restore the land to its original condition. In case of further violation, the SDM can lodge a complaint with the local police asking for registration of a case under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, for knowingly disobeying an order duly promulgated by a public servant. These aspects should also be looked into,” said the official.
The agency is presently collecting details about individuals to whom the plots were sold on General Power of Attorney agreements. They have approached the North Delhi Power Limited to get the particulars of those to whom electricity connections were issued at the plots that are under investigation.
NDPL spokesperson Ajey Maharaj said: “We have universal service obligation and have to provide electricity connection to any person who has completed the formalities as specified in the regulations (ownership documents and identity proof). We cannot ask for any other document except for what is specified in the regulations.”
“Whenever consumers approach us for new connections we process the requests on the basis of commercial formalities mentioned in the supply code. In these cases also the connections would have been processed on similar lines either through normal process or through camp organisations,” he added.
Interestingly, as the converted plots have been sold to individuals on GPA agreements, in government records the land still belongs to the original owners.