Delhi land scam kingpin formally charged


New Delhi : The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Monday filed charges against businessman Ashok Malhotra, six Delhi Development Authority (DDA) officials, and a government official for their alleged involvement in a multi-million-rupee land scam in the capital.

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“We have filed a charge-sheet in a special CBI court in Tis Hazari against the DAA officials for criminal prosecution, cheating, forgery and also under the Prevention of Corruption Act for fraudulently allotting land meant for rehabilitation of slum dwellers at Dheerpur Phase-I area to Malhotra,” a CBI official said.

An official of the Delhi Secretariat was also charged.

“Malhotra, kingpin of the land scam, was also charged for the same offences,” the official added.

Malhotra, known for his proximity to some key Delhi politicians, had allegedly siphoned off millions of rupees in association with five DDA officials and a private contractor by selling at exorbitant prices plots meant to be given to displaced slum-dwellers in northwest Delhi’s Dheerpur area.

The CBI probe began after he figured along with the five DDA officials in illegal allotment of the plots using fictitious names.

According to CBI sources, Malhotra was also involved in selling plots under other resettlement schemes of the DDA to people with fake identities. The scam reportedly took place between 2000 and 2002.

The CBI had last month registered a case against the five DDA officers – deputy directors K.S. Verma and A.K. Mishra, assistant director J.R. Gaur and assistant engineers Shyam Babu and S.K. Sharma – for their alleged role in the scam.

During raids on his home in Mukherjee Nagar in August, the CBI claimed to have found several incriminating documents related to the land scam, Rs.1.7 million in cash, seven kg of gold and at least 50 luxury cars and 10 motorcycles – all bearing VIP number plates.

Malhotra, who runs a canteen in the Delhi Secretariat premises, denied media reports that he has over Rs.1 billion but admitted to owning at least 17 cars and five motorbikes.