Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has ordered the setting up of a special investigating team (SIT) to probe the collusion between Noida authority and the real estate company, Supertech for the illegal construction of two 40-storey twin towers -- Tower Apex and Tower Ceyane -- in Noida.
"Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed to form an SIT at the government level immediately for investigation in Noida's twin towers case. Instructions were given to fix the accountability of officers of the authority who were associated with this case from 2004 to 2017," said the Chief Minister's office on Thursday.
It added that the SIT has been ordered to take time-bound action. The Chief Minister on Wednesday said that strict action will be taken against the guilty officials in the Noida twin towers case.
The development came after the Supreme Court of India, on Tuesday, upheld the Allahabad High Court's verdict that had ordered the demolition of two 40-storey twin towers; Tower Apex and Tower Ceyane in Uttar Pradesh's Noida.
Here's all you need to know about the Supertech case:
It was the relentless pursuit of justice over a decade by a group of senior citizens that resulted in the Supreme Court's order for demolition of the illegal 40-storey twin towers of a real estate group in Noida.
These senior citizens, including former central government and paramilitary officers, often travelled unreserved in trains for hearings in the Allahabad High Court and even had to collect donations to continue their legal battle against the builder.
Now, with the top court's decision on Tuesday, residents of Emerald Court in Sector 93 of Noida are full of praise for these senior citizens and their perseverance for justice for over 12 years.
In 2009, four residents went up against Supertech's plan for twin towers, which were coming up in violation of building bye-laws, and formed a core legal committee that moved the court.
UBS Teotia (80), S K Sharma (74), Ravi Bajaj (65) and M K Jain (59) have been credited with bringing down the company to its knees.
Jain was the only exception in the senior citizens' club but he passed away earlier this year due to COVID-19, while Bajaj withdrew from the committee last year citing personal reasons, said Sharma, who had retired as deputy director-general from the Telecom Department.
"These were old men who fought this case. Teotia, who was a DIG in the CRPF, led the battle with all of us by his side," Sharma told PTI, while also crediting their lawyers Jayant Bhooshan and Aneesh Agrawal for skilfully presenting the case in courts.
Teotia said nobody believed that an order like this could be passed against the builder and more than half of the residents of the building's society were also not convinced. "But we were sure and had facts and rules on our side," Teotia told PTI.
"Before that we would travel to Allahabad for high court dates. Travelled 3rd class in trains," the former DIG said, adding that collecting documents from local, state and national authorities was also "very tough". Teotia, who turned 80 on August 30, said the legal and related expenses cost them about Rs 1 crore, for which they had to go door to door for donations from society members.
Rajesh Rana (62), the current president of Emerald Court resident welfare association (RWA), said the original team of four was extremely involved in the case.
"We had a good legal team but these senior citizens left no stone unturned. From following case details, gathering documents to managing day to day activities, they really made the team work," Rana, who retired from the corporate world two years ago, said.
The builder was developing two more high-rise towers in the housing project in violation of rules. The new towers impacted ventilation, sunlight and response to emergency situations for other residents of the 15 towers, he claimed.
In a setback to Supertech Ltd, the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed demolition of twin 40-storey towers of the realty major's Emerald Court project in Noida for violation of building bye-laws "in collusion" with the local authority officials.
Both the towers -- Apex and Ceyane -- were under construction when the Allahabad High Court had ordered their demolition. After Supertech Ltd approached the apex court against the high court order, a status quo was ordered.
The top court said the case record is replete with instances which highlight the collusion between officers of the Noida Authority with Supertech Ltd and its management and involvement of the planning authority with the developer in violation of laws.
The apex court directed that the entire amount of home buyers be refunded with 12 per cent interest from the time of the booking and the Residents Welfare Association be paid Rs 2 crore for the harassment caused due to the construction of the twin towers.
Supertech said it would file a review petition over the order, while Noida Authority said it will ensure full compliance of the SC's verdict and ensure action against its officials who are found guilty of violation in the case.
(With inputs from ANI and PTI)