New Delhi: An IBN-Cobrapost investigation has exposed urban India's worst kept secret. A builder-MCD councillor nexus has allowed irregularities to flourish and buildings that violate bylaws to come up brazenly.
The IBN-Cobrapost investigation reveals how Delhi councillors across party lines have been demanding money for illegal constructions. The expose shows on camera the nexus between councillors and junior bureaucrats.
Councillors admitted that they pay junior engineers in the MCD and even keep a cut for themselves.
The investigation exposes eight MCD councillors across political parties, who have demanded anywhere from Rs 4 lakh to Rs 10 lakh to regularise an illegal building.
At least 500 people have died in the last ten years in 50 building collapses across the national capital.
On November 15, 2010, 66 people dead and 130 were injured as a 4-storey illegal building collapsed in Delhi's Lakshmi Nagar.
In December, 2011, seven people were crushed to death when a building using substandard material crumbled in Uttam Nagar.
In 50 such tragedies over the last 10 years, the death toll stands at 500.
For Rs 22 lakh, Subash Jain, BJP councillor for ward number 25 in Delhi's Jyoti Nagar, agreed to broker illegal construction in his ward. The money would be used to pay officials including MCD's local junior engineer and deputy commissioner. It appeared that brokering illegal constructions was an everyday business for him. But the question is were councillors across Delhi as entrenched in this builder - politician - lower bureaucracy mafia.
Ajit Singh Tokas, BJP councilor for Munirka's ward 166 described how 'maintenance certificates' could be misused to construct illegally.
Two different wards in Delhi, two separate councillors, but both were more than willing to put at risk the lives of the very people who elect them.
Some Congress councillors have also been busy brokering deals, making sure buildings that are openly flouting bylaws are allowed to come up. The price of breaking the law is anything from Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 8 lakh with a share for junior engineers as well.
Jayshree Pawar, the Congress councillor for Shahpur Jat ward number 212 quoted a price of Rs 8 lakh to build illegally in her area. But the former mayor of Delhi said that the final amount will be decided only after consulting the MCD's junior engineer.
Bina Thakuria, Congress councillor from Ambedkar Nagar, also asked for money to offer help in constructing builder flats by flouting building laws. She opnle said that elections cannot be fought without money. For Rs 6 lakh she bargained away the lives of people who vote for her.
Not all councillors are comfortably making deals directly . Some use middlemen like the DDA inspector PK Sharma. After finalising the deal Inspector Sharma took IBN-Cobrapost to meet his councillor from Patparganj, Manju Gupta of the BJP, who further took the dead to her husband.
Corruption within the system is institutionalised. The builder- politician - lower bureaucracy nexus is very much alive and kicking. The fact that their nexus has killed 500 people in the last 10 years, simply doesn't bother them.