New Delhi: Delhi High Court today warned that it could direct a CBI probe on unauthorised construction in Sainik Farms if the Centre and the AAP government fail to take any “concrete measures” to address the issue.
“We are deferring directions to CBI till next date of hearing. If the governments do not act, we will act. “We hope by that date both Central government and Delhi government would have taken concrete measures as mentioned in our earlier orders,” said a bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva which referred to the area as a “can of worms” after being told that RWAs of the area were collecting toll from commercial vehicles entering or passing through.
Directions were also issued by the bench to six resident welfare associations (RWAs) of the area to give details of the amounts collected by them from 2007 till date by levying entry fees on vehicles entering the colony, while questioning their authority to levy the “toll”.
“How can you charge vehicles entering the area? On what basis are you doing so? How can you have a toll road? What is happening? This is very strange. This is unknown of. This is an unauthorised colony and you are collecting toll. What nonsense is all this? Is this some sort of mafia?” the court said.
“We are completely at a loss on what to do. Sainik Farms is like a can of worms,” it added. The observations came after the court was told that the RWAs were charging between Rs 20-Rs 800 from commercial vehicles, including autos and heavy trucks carrying construction material.
Some of the RWAs which were present in court, told the bench that the amounts were being charged for maintenance of the roads which were privately built.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by an NGO alleging illegal construction in Sainik Farms. The bench will now take up the matter on July 20.
The RWA of the Defence Services Enclave told the court that they have not permitted entry into Sainik Farm to any truck carrying construction material, but admitted to charging some fee for use of the colony road which they claimed was carved out of their plots and was being maintained by them.
The court observed that in such a situation there was no need for the municipal corporations as private people can maintain the roads. The bench, thereafter, directed the south MCD to install CCTV cameras at all entry and exit points of the colony within four weeks. The corporation was also ordered to file a list of officials deputed on duty at Sainik Farms, since 2001 as per court orders, to man the entry points to prevent entry of trucks carrying construction material.
Delhi police, which had filed list of officers deputed on duty at the colony entry points since 2008 and not 2001, was ticked off by the court for its practice of destroying its duty records of more than 10 years of age.
The bench asked Delhi police that if records which are more than 10 years old are destroyed, then what would happen if some case comes up after that period.
“Why should you destroy? Is is because there is no space? Then digitise the records,” the court said and directed the police to “trace out the data” regarding its officers on duty at Sainik Farms from 2001-08 and to place it before the court within a week.
During the hearing, the court said that earlier the corporation had said that 700 houses came up unauthorisedly in the colony after 2007, and now it was saying only 700 complaints were received and observed “it seems all of you are trying to pull wool over our eyes”.
“This is why a preliminary enquiry by CBI is required. We will know culpability. We have to punish those who have violated the law,” the court added. However, the south MCD opposed the suggestion of CBI probe saying the only solution was to regularise the area.
It also told the court that with regard to the 700 complaints received by the corporation, complete demolition of 49 properties were carried out.