Published: Monday, Apr 2, 2012, 0:30 IST By Javed Iqbal | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
Had the government heeded recommendations of the honorable Lok Ayukta and the late Hemant Karkare when he was additional commissioner, the working-class homes of Golibar’s Ganesh Krupa Society would not have had faced a series of demolition.
According to the documents available with DNA, the story dates back to days when the current directors of Shivalik Ventures (Ramakant Jadhav, Prakash Ajgoankar and others) were directors of Network Constructions. A complaint was lodged against Network Constructions for not taking necessary permissions to build certain buildings, not acquiring occupational certificates to avoid payment of development charges to Cidco and submitting false certificates from incompetent authorities for around 150 buildings in Nallasopara in the early 1990s.
It was acting on this complaint that the Lok Ayukta on dated June 19, 1997 wrote to the anti-corruption bureau (ACB), asking it “take further necessary action to prosecute officers of the government, BMRDA, Cidco, Nallasopara municipal corporation and sarpanches of village Nilemore under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.”
Further, Cidco in yet another letter dated October 16, 2002, wrote to the police that the builders have been “violating the approved plans while constructing the buildings in the different projects, taking development permission from incompetent authorities, taking occupancy certificates from incompetent authorities.” The matter went into hiatus from 1997 to 2007, when the late Karkare made his recommendations after being informed of the matter by RTI and India Against Corruption activist Kamlakar Shenoy, as well as the chief secretary. On March 22, 2007, Karkare recommended that a complaint be lodged and the progress report be sent to the ACB headquarters.
This was followed by ACB additional director general late Hasan Gafoor on August 31, 2007 writing to the chief secretary on “the re-inquiry of the matter” that “the occupation certificate is given” and “the fee already paid by the non-applicants”. Further, the Central Bureau of Investigation in a letter to the Union Bank of India notified that the builders had used unauthorised flats to get loans to the tune of Rs55 lakh sanctioned.
In spite of all this, the directors managed to continue with the Golibar project in partnership with Unitech Group, with a large tranche to the tune of Rs750 crore coming from the infamous US bank, The Lehmann Brothers.
Meanwhile, the Golibar residents claim they never gave their consent to the project which the builder was building on defence and western railway lands.
Shivalik Ventures director Ramakant Jadhav, however, responded to the “occupation certificate issue” by referring to the initial complainant, the reporter and the entire DNA newspaper as “blackmailers”, adding that, “Over 90% of buildings in Mumbai do not have occupation certificates.”