Worli slum redevelopment project scam: SRA calls for case against builder, cops stay mum
A month on, body's deputy collector awaits reply to letter written to Worli police, asking for action against developer and societies for showing bogus slumdwellers
The under-construction redevelopment project in Worli. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi
After a scam of showing bogus slumdwellers as eligible in a redevelopment project was unearthed in Worli in August 2015, the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) has now ordered that an FIR be filed against the builder and societies.
The project was started in 2009 near Gandhi Nagar at Worli Naka by developer Om Omega Shelters. It merged three slum pockets into one unit - Shiv Ganesh and Shiv Sainath Cooperative Housing Societies.
In 2015, then SRA chief executive officer Asim Gupta had ordered an inquiry, after an RTI query had blown the lid off the irregularities - addition of 62 bogus slumdwellers to the final list of the eligible 750.
According to SRA officials, in 2015, HC advocate Manoj Singh, on behalf of Samala Narsaiyya Ramulu and Narsavva Konka, who live in a slum near Worli Naka, had filed an application under the RTI to check with the SRA why certain names had been included in the massive redevelopment project when the list was revised in 2012. Reply to the query had revealed that the names added were of bogus slumdwellers.
mid-day had first reported about it on August 16, 2015.
Deputy collector of SRA's letter to the Worli police on April 5 states, "After the complaint from advocate Singh, we started an investigation to check the authenticity of the documents submitted by the 62 dwellers. We found that these were bogus.
Because the builder and the societies had filed an affidavit before the authority, they should have checked all documents, and in case of irregularities, they should be held responsible. As per their affidavit, they are responsible for adding the bogus dwellers.
Now, the police should conduct an investigation into the matter and register a case against the culprit(s)."
The investigation report by SRA's deputy collector was submitted before senior authorities (tehsildar) on March 23, 2017, with the recommendation that a letter be written to the police for filing an FIR against the culprits.
Confirming the development, deputy collector of SRA Satyanarayan Bajaj said, "We wrote to the Worli police... Affidavits filed by the developer and societies regarding the eligibility of the 62 slumdwellers should be scrutinised. However, we have not got any reply from the police station yet."
Speaking to mid-day, Singh claimed that Om Omega Shelters hiked the number of dwellers eligible under Development Control Rule 33 (10) in order to claim a larger building area.
"The SRA letter was sent to the Worli police last month. But they are yet to start an investigation and register cases against the builder and societies," he said.
"Considering that the current market rate in Worli is R25,000-30,000 per sq ft, the extra 10,000 sq ft secured by showing 62 bogus dwellers would cause a loss of anywhere between R25 crore and R30 crore to the state government."
When mid-day contacted KC Sethi of Om Omega Shelters, the company sent a statement that read, "The matter raised is a very old one with no substance, and totally irrelevant. Moreover, there has been no communication or order from SRA or the police till date in relation to it. Also, please note that the claim made of loss of revenue to the state government is totally baseless, and all tenements made are handed over as per SRA rules."
Despite repeated attempts, senior inspector of Worli police station Gajanan Degsurkar was unavailable for comment.
10K sq ft
Extra area secured by the builder
Number of bogus slumdwellers
Rs 30 crore
Maximum revenue loss to the state