//Former NDMC chief, others charge-sheeted

Former NDMC chief, others charge-sheeted

The Hindu, Jul 01, 2006

The case relates to issuance of licence to a hotel

NEW DELHI: The Central Bureau of Investigation on Friday charge-sheeted the former Chairperson of New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), P. M. Singh, and three of her subordinates under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for illegal issuance of health/lodging house licence to a hotel. The hotel owner has also been charge-sheeted.

The case was registered on July 9, 2003, after investigations suggested that Ms. Singh, the then NDMC Medical Officer (Health) G.S. Thind, Chief Medical Officer R. Pal, and Sanitary Inspector Raj Kumar Gupta had exploited their official positions to issue the licence to Centre Point Hotel belonging to Kasturi Lal Bhatia by showing it as a health-cum-lodging house. This was done despite the fact that the NDMC had earlier cancelled its health licence.

Investigations revealed that since 1979 the hotel was being run at 13, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, which was earmarked for residential use. Moreover, the purported owner of the premises did not have a right over the property as the Land and Development Officer of the Union Ministry of Urban Development had acquired the property in 1986 and eviction proceedings were pending before the Estate Officer.

As a result, the health licence issued by the NDMC to the hotel for 16 rooms/32 beds was cancelled on March 2, 2000. However, Mr. Bhatia allegedly continued to run the hotel. Not only that, while the licence earlier issued to the hotel was just for 16 rooms/32 beds, Mr. Bhatia had allegedly been running a 60-room hotel since 1992.

It came to light that to obtain a health/lodging licence, Mr. Bhatia allegedly connived with Ms. Singh and the three other NDMC officials and was subsequently granted the licence on January 17, 2003, against "substantial pecuniary gains". After completion of the investigations, the CBI sought permission from the authorities concerned for prosecution of the accused public servants in September 2005. After being granted the same, it filed the charge-sheet against all the five accused for commission of offences punishable under Section 120-B and 420 of the IPC and 13 (2) and 13 (1) (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act in the Tis Hazari court of Special Judge Sunil Gaur.