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DDA lodges complaint with CBI over ‘lapses’ in Signature View Apartments construction

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NEW DELHI, March 4 (PTI): The DDA has lodged a complaint with the CBI against officials and contractors accused of “lapses and misconduct” in the construction of the Signature View Apartments in North Delhi’s Mukherjee Nagar, Raj Niwas officials said on Saturday.

Lt Governor VK Saxena in January ordered criminal proceedings against errant officials.

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The DDA also conducted a vigilance inquiry, following the Lt Governor’s directions, to ascertain the role of officials in the case.

“In a massive crackdown against ‘corruption and negligence’ at the top level that has put hundreds of lives at risk in the structurally damaged Signature View Apartments in Mukherjee Nagar, the DDA (Delhi Development Authority), following directions of the Lt Governor, has lodged a complaint with the CBI to lodge FIR against the erring DDA officials, contractors/builders involved in the case,” an official said.

Built in 2007–2009, the complex comprises 336 HIG/MIG flats.

In January, Saxena ordered the “immediate initiation of criminal proceedings against the contractors/builders/construction agencies and a vigilance inquiry to identify all DDA officials responsible for lapses/misconduct in the construction of the said buildings and subsequent criminal action against the defaulting officials”.

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“The DDA has requested the CBI to register FIR against ‘all concerned including the contractors namely M/s Winner Construction Pvt Ltd and M/s Grover Construction Pvt Ltd, the testing agencies — M/s Bharat Test House and M/S Delhi Test House, all involved DDA officials and unknown persons’ for offences of cheating, criminal breach of trust, endangering life and public safety of others and other relevant provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act,” the official said.

The erring DDA officials include three engineers, six chief engineers, nine superintending engineers, nine executive engineers, four assistant engineers and eight junior engineers during the period, he added.

“The vigilance inquiry has established ‘collusion’ between the DDA officials and builders/contractors that resulted in ‘compromising the quality and structural safety requirement during the construction’, thereby causing wrongful loss to DDA besides putting to peril the lives and property of hundreds of residents,” the official said.

It found that the provisions on quality control, as highlighted in the contract and the Central Public Works Department manual, were bypassed. As a result, the construction failed in less than a decade of the building’s erection.

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“It also found that the concrete in the structure is, at most locations, of a lower grade than that expected. Despite several repairs of the existing structure, the structural stability continues to fail to an extent that an independent expert has suggested immediate evacuation of the buildings.

“It was the duty of the contractor and all the concerned officers to ensure that prescribed norms of quality control and terms and conditions of the agreement are followed. It appears that either the officers had failed to point the deficiencies during the construction or effectively colluded with the agency to compromise the quality and provide wrongful gains to the agency,” the report noted.

Allotted to residents in 2011-2012, the building started started displaying construction related issues shortly afterwards, forcing the residents to approach the DDA. A 2021-2022 study by IIT-Delhi at behest of DDA found the building to be structurally unsafe. The study also recommended to immediately ‘vacate and dismantle’ the building.

The Lt Governor has ordered the DDA to draw up a redevelopment and rehabilitation plan for the complex in consultation with the Residents’ Welfare Association.

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The Hills Times
The Hills Timeshttps://thehillstimes.in/
The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur
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