‘NDMC commissioner pressurised me to drop ownership rights’
New Delhi: In a sensational disclosure, the former additional commissioner (Revenue) of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), Renu Jagdev, has accused the municipal commissioner of pressuring her to drop the ownership rights of the civic body’s land worth about Rs 15,000 crore to favour a private builder in the national capital. In a letter to NDMC mayor Adesh Gupta, standing committee chairman Tilak Raj Kataria, Delhi chief secretary Anshu Prakash, Ms Jagdev claimed that a 95- acre land at Khyber Pass, which as per the Delhi government’s revenue records comes under the ownership of the north civic body, had been wrongly allotted to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) by the land and development office (L&DO).
She said that the matter was under continuous discussion with the L&DO since 2015. But lately, she was being pressurised by the commissioner to accept the contention of ownership by L&DO and drop the matter so that the building plan of “M/s Parsvnath” could be sanctioned and their project continued.
The letter said: “Since I was grounding my case on the reliable document of ‘jamabandi’ of the GNCTD revenue department and the value of the land in question is more than `15,000 crore, I declined to oblige and preferred to let the matter reach its logical conclusion upon the production of relevant documents by the L&DO in the interest of the corporation.”
In her letter dated May 18, Ms Jagdev wrote that all of a sudden, she received repatriation orders on May 17, relieving her from the office with effect from May 18.
Ms Jagdev, an IRS officer of the IC&CE services 1989 batch, had been working in the NDMC on deputation basis since November 26, 2014. She was handling the charges of revenue, advertisement, parking, IT, and finance amongst others.
Listing the irregularities in the NDMC, Ms Jagdev wrote, “In the recent past I came across some glaring shortcomings in the working of the corporation, which I duly put in a file. But for some untold reasons, I could not garner the support of the commissioner.”
Ms Jagdev also pointed out lapse in the land acquisition of NDMC for the much delayed ‘Rani Jhanshi’ flyover. She alleged that during the handling of the land and estate department for a brief period, she noticed that a huge chunk of land acquired for the project, which was actually government land, was given on lease.
She further wrote that there was no justification in acquiring this land at all since it is a part of the lease conditions that if the government, at any point of time, requires these lands, the lease shall be cancelled.
She further alleged that even the measurement of the land is not clear since the land to be acquired for the flyover was on 698 square meters, the rest having already been resumed from the National Cold Storage for DMRC project (1087 square meters in 2000 and 400 square meters in 2006).
“Similarly, according to khasra number 288, the land belonged to the Methodist Church of India. However, compensation has been paid to one Abhishek Gupta. The corporation has already paid a compensation of approx `110 crore in this case. It therefore needs to be investigated,” she wrote.
Ms Jagdev listed several irregularities, which include similar acquisition cases related to the flyover, involving payment to private persons was approved by the commissioner for `10 crore, irregularity in procurement of biometric machines, wrong fixation of pay scales of officials causing a recurring loss of several crores per annum, and other irregularities causing loss to the civic body.
Former NDMC mayor and Delhi BJP general secretary Ravinder Gupta has approached lieutenant-governor Anil Baijal and demanded a CBI investigation into the allegation levelled by Ms Jagdev. Reacting to the allegation, NDMC commissioner Madhup Vyas told this newspaper that her (Ms Jagdev) complaint required detailed examination as the instances mentioned did not relate to his tenure.
“I have joined in September 2017. The complaint seems like an attempt of a disgruntled employee trying to portray herself as a whistleblower in order to hang on to the deputation assignment,” Mr Vyas added.
He also questioned the timing of the allegation. He asked why she was raising these issues now and what was she doing during her 9.5 years’ stint in the MCD.
Referring to a letter dated March 12, 2018, the NDMC claims that the question of wrongful allotment of land to DMRC by L&DO does not arise.
“It has been informed that NDMC has raised the issue of ownership of this land and is not clearing the plans of M/s PDL in respect of the land leased to them by DMRC. You are, therefore, requested to issue necessary instructions to the concerned authorities for clearance of the aforesaid project of DMRC and provide necessary assistance to them for completing their project in time,” the NDMC said citing the L&DO letter.