CBI gives initial clean chit to 19 societies in housing scam
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New Delhi, Oct 3 (PTI) The CBI today gave an initial clean chit to 19 of the 135 Co-operative Group Housing Societies (CGHS) under its scanner in the Rs 4,000 crore housing scam in the capital, saying they appeared to be genuine as per the enquiries made so far.

CBI counsel Harish Gulati, who had earlier said there were 25 such societies, submitted before the Delhi High Court that the number could come down further after the final probe.

Gulati's submissions before a Division Bench of Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Rekha Sharma were based on an affidavit filed by Special Investigation Team headed by CBI DIG R D Malhotra, who said the Registrar of Co-operative Societies (RCS), Delhi should make further verifications before recommending these 19 societies for allotment of land.

The societies given initial clean chit by CBI are: Anjali Women CGHS, Baba Nanak, Bhanu Bhaskar CGHS, Bihar Bandhu CGHS, CSIR CGHS, Directorate of Adult Education CGHS, Harbans Lal Parwana Coop. GHS Ltd, Jubilee CGHS, Kanwar Coop. Group Housing Society Ltd, Madhuban Estate CGHS, Padmini Coop. Group Housing Society Ltd, Rail Mantralaya CGHS, Ramjas Coop. Group Housing Society Ltd, Sana CGHS, Sant Vivekanand CGHS Ltd, Shri Guru Gobind Singh Coop. G/H Society Ltd, Shri Shanti Sagar Coop. G/H Society Ltd, The New Shivani CGHS and Yagya Jyoti.

The court made it clear that it would not like the genuine CGHS and their members to be deprived of the rights.

In his affidavit filed in the court, Malhotra, however, said, "the RCS, Delhi before making any recommendations to DDA for allotment of land to these societies, should verify the genuineness and eligibility of each and every member of the society and that the records submitted by the society are correct as per the DCS Act and the by-laws of the society concerned." The CBI DIG submitted that "the RCS office should also verify the fact that none of the members of these societies owned any plot/flat/house in NCT of Delhi.

"The RCS should further enquire about the members who have expired with a view to ensure that the membership has been passed on to their legal heirs, since on the aforesaid aspect CBI has not made detailed enquiries," Malhotra said in his affidavit.

The Bench said it was the obligation of the RCS to ensure that only genuine societies were recommended for allotment of land and that genuine members were not harassed.

During the course of hearing, CBI counsel Harish Gulati informed the court that the agency has registered 13 more FIRs in connection with the CGHS scam taking the total number of cases registered to 17.

Gulati said CBI has found criminality in the revival of 76 of the 135 CGHS while preliminary investigation was yet to be completed in case of 32 CGHS.

There were eight societies which were not genuine as per the preliminary enquiries but the agency was yet to gather incriminating evidence against them, he added.

The court gave six-week time to the SIT to complete the probe.

Meanwhile, RCS today gave an additional list of 16 societies, cleared for allotment of land, to the CBI for probe. With this the total number of CGHS under CBI scanner in Delhi has gone up to 151.

Amicus Curiae K C Mittal pointed out that the RCS has asked the societies to hold elections by the end of this month and that there should be no elections to those under CBI probe.

Approving of Mittal's views, the Bench asked the RCS not to appoint any Returning Officers for holsing elections to the societies under CBI's scanner for alleged irregularities.

The CBI had earlier told the court that as many as 41 co-operative group housing societies, which were cleared for allotment of land here, were non-existent.

In its first preliminary investigation report filed in the Delhi High Court, CBI on August 31 said seven of the total 135 such societies were controlled by builders, contractors and sub-contractors and 19 other societies by a builder lobby.

CBI had told the court that 13 CGHS were held by 13 separate families and their close relatives.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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