That influential people can misuse a government scheme meant to offer homes to the needy, has been proved by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Economic Offences Wing of the city police. The SIT established that former Congress minister Kripashankar Singh aided and abetted his son-in-law Vijaykumar in procuring a flat under this government quota wrongfully, by submitting false documents.
After the SIT submitted a chargesheet to the Special Court, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has taken a welcome step in seeking to scrap the flat’s allotment and also recover the ill-gained profits Vijaykumar made by selling the flat, which was supposed to be his primary residence.
For the record, such ‘quota’ flats are to be allotted to persons in dire need of homes. The beneficiaries need to fit in a certain income criteria and prove that they have lived in Maharashtra for 15 years. The SIT has proved that Vijaykumar had forged documents to prove that he had lived in Maharashtra for the required period. The Special Court will now decide the case, which primarily deals with allegations that the Singhs have amassed assets disproportionate to their known income.
But this isn’t the only case in which powerful people have exploited the housing scheme. There may be hundreds of allotments made on the basis of false affidavits and forged papers. The culprits could be politicians, bureaucrats, journalists and other influential people. In fact, the Bombay High Court is currently hearing a case related to double allotment of flats under the CM’s discretionary quota. The HC had even appointed a one-man committee to probe the matter. It was not happy with officials who delayed handing over files to the fact-finding committee. In light of this case, ex-CM Prithviraj Chavan had stopped entertaining applications for allotment and the scheme came to a standstill.
Now, we expect Fadnavis to act in tune with his anti-corruption agenda and ensure that allotments made fraudulently are scrapped immediately. Instead of waiting for the court’s findings, he must review the scheme and take action promptly.