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Probe Panel Finds Irregularities in North Delhi Flyover

The panel has recommended the suspension of the concerned additional district magistrate (land acquisition collector) in the case of the Rani Jhansi flyover

A four-member committee has found several irregularities related to acquisition of land for the construction of the much-delayed Rani Jhansi flyover, and has recommended the suspension of the concerned additional district magistrate (land acquisition collector).

The committee has also recommended filing of a criminal case in the matter.

Conceived in 1998 and commissioned by the erstwhile unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) in 2006 at a cost of ₹177.7 crore , the 1.6km-long flyover from St Stephens Hospital to Filmistaan Cinema was constructed over a period of two decades, making it one of most delayed projects in Delhi.

It was supposed to be completed before the 2010 Commonwealth Games, but it was only inaugurated in October 2018, at a massively hiked cost of ₹724.2 crore, according to a December 2018 audit report of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi.

In May this year, chief secretary Naresh Kumar constituted the probe panel, comprising officials from directorate of vigilance, MCD commissioner, principle secretary (revenue) and additional chief secretary, after the Lokpal in November last year flagged the lapses raised in the MCD report, and directed that the case be probed and responsibilities fixed.

In its report submitted on August 11 after a three-month long probe, the committee has found large scale irregularities in acquisition of land in two pockets — Khara number 277 and 280.

Its report notes that in the first case, the compensation for land acquired was awarded for the area which was “over and above” the available land.

“An erroneous award with dubious and misleading language was announced by which compensation was paid….The land-owning agency was neither informed nor any compensation paid to it by the then Land Acquisition Collector,” the report notes. The panel has recommended that the L&DO and MCD should take corrective steps to effect recovery of excess payments. The panel has also recommended recovery of money in the second case.

The case has now been referred to the newly constituted National Capital Civil Services Authority for further action, as the panel has recommended action and major penalty proceedings against a Group A officer.

Source : Hindustan News