New Delhi: At a time when Delhi government is strongly pushing for regularisation of over 1,600 unauthorised colonies, home to around 60 lakh people, Lokayukta Justice Manmohan Sarin has decided to launch a detailed probe into alleged irregularities in the process initiated for their regularisation.
The decision by the Lokayukta came after Lt Governor Tejendra Khanna in March asked him to file a final report on the politically sensitive matter for taking appropriate action. The Lokayukta had earlier sent an interim report to Khanna and recommended issuance of an advisory to the Urban Development department of Delhi government finding it guilty of "en-masse" grant of provisional regularisation certificates to the unauthorised colonies without proper verification.
The Lokayukta will launch a full investigation into the matter. The investigation will also focus on the alleged nexus between land grabbers and politicians, sources said. In 2012, a committee, headed by the then Divisional Commissioner Vijay Dev, had found serious wrongdoings in the process of issuance of provisional regularisation certificates (PRCs) and recommended criminal proceedings against those involved in the irregularities.
The committee said certain non existent colonies were issued PRCs. As per norms, unauthorised colonies, which had come up prior to March 31, 2002, and which had 50 per cent built-up area as on February 8, 2007, were eligible for PRCs.
It had highlighted alleged nexus among land grabbers, real estate mafia and Resident Welfare Associations and certain elements in government departments concerned to procure PRCs by filing "bogus" documents. In his interim report to the Lt Governor, Justice Sarin said PRCs were issued without any physical verification of the unauthorised colonies, some of which were "plain" fields.
The government is in the process of providing basic infrastructure like roads, electricity and drainage in the colonies. "It appears prima facie that en-masse PRCs were granted without regard to eligibility, for extraneous reasons and considerations to appease a large segment of people and for benefit of certain sections," the report said.
The government had issued notices to a number of colonies following submission of the report by Vijay Dev and initiated process to cancel their PRCs. Ahead of the Assembly polls in 2008, the Delhi government had issued the PRCs to around 1,600 unauthorised colonies which constitute important vote bank.
The then Sheila Dikshit government, while distributing the certificates, had promised to regularise the colonies if Congress came to power for the third term. After the Congress' defeat in municipal polls in April 2012, Dikshit had asked all departments concerned to expedite the regularisation process.
Losing support base in unauthorised colonies was identified as one of the reasons for defeat of Congress in municipal polls. With Assembly polls due for November, the city government has started various infrastructure projects in the nearly 900 unauthorised colonies.
The move of the government to regularise unauthorised colonies which came up on ridge and forest land may also attract Lokayukta scrutiny as regularising such settlements will violate Supreme Court orders. The government in September announced regularising 895 unauthorised colonies and promised to regularise the remaining ones soon.