Previously, the system was unable to detect more than one application with the same address, PAN or telephone number

It wasn't pure luck that so far determined the collective fate of those partaking in Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) lotteries. A flaw in the software used for the draw ensured the probability of certain hopefuls edging past the others escalated considerably. Now the authority has mended the malfunction.

House that! Amol and Sunita Takale won a flat in the online lottery of
MHADA, results of which were declared on May 31, 2011. File Pic

Speaking to MiD DAY, a senior MHADA official, requesting anonymity, said, "The lottery software that we have been using had some shortcomings. For instance, it just had two field checks and only applications with same names and bank account numbers in a category were detected.  But the software was unable to track down forms with same address, permanent account number (PAN) and contact number. Because of this, in the past we came across some cases where several applications with the same address had been cleared. In order to curb this mess, we will be adding new features to the software so that if any person files multiple applications with the same PAN, address or contact number, then that can be espied and the scam nipped in the bud."

Quick on the draw
In the previous lottery conducted by MHADA, the matter of agents filing several applications with the same address had come to light. Taking serious note of this, the housing authority has decided to take as many corrective measures as possible in the next edition.

MHADA had organised a lottery of 4,034 houses in May 2011. The authority had received an unnamed letter in August, claiming that 327 of the flats were won using forged documents. However, when Mastek, the company that had prepared the software, inquired into the issue, it found 425 forged applications with similar contact details and addresses.

The authority has plans to conduct a lottery of 3,963 houses and 19 shops in May 2012. According to MHADA officials, advertisements for the same would be published in March. For the first time, Mumbai and Konkan regions will be jointly conducting the lottery.