The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CBI banks on tape to pin Delhi official

New Delhi, March 29: Telephone conversations form the crucial piece of evidence the CBI has against Delhi Development Authority vice-chairman Subhash Sharma to prove his alleged involvement in a corrupt deal.

According to sources, in one of the conversations, Sharma is reportedly talking to middleman Dharam Bir Khattar on the deal they allegedly struck to favour DLF Universal Limited, a construction company.

The FIR registered on March 26 — a day before raids were conducted at the offices and houses of four authority officers — says Sharma asked for Rs 1.10 crore to grant floor area ratio of 300 to DLF at half the market rate.

The other authority officers allegedly party to the corrupt deal are director (land) Anand Mohan Sharan, commissioner (land disposal) Jagdish Chandra and commissioner (planning) Vijay Risbut.

Sharan, arrested last night, was today remanded in CBI custody for six days by a city court. Of the Rs 44 lakh seized during the raids, the CBI recovered Rs 36 lakh from Sharan’s house.

The court, in the remand order, said: “Keeping in view all the facts and circumstances of the case, including the accused persons’ involvement in the conspiracy, the accused (Sharan) is remanded to CBI custody.”

The CBI put Sharan behind bars for his reported failure to give a “suitable explanation” for the presence of the huge amount of cash recovered from his home.

Chandra reportedly emerged as a highly influential officer in the authority hierarchy only after Sharma assumed the vice-chairmanship late last year.

An authority cadre officer who rose from dealing assistant to commissioner, Chandra was looking after the lands department during most of his appointments.

He was an important link in Sharma’s chain of functioning in the authority.

According to authority sources, Sharma would take decisions mostly on the files Chandra sent him, thus antagonising several officers of high rank, including Sharan.

Chandra’s clout could be gauged from the additional charge he was given of residential homes and retail outlets for petrol pumps and CNG.

Sources said Sharma’s decision to give Chandra additional charge antagonised Surjit Rao, a Delhi Andaman and Nicobar Island Civil Services officer, so much that he wrote to the vice-chairman a fortnight ago requesting repatriation to his parent cadre of the Delhi government. Rao was in charge of commercial land.

Sharma, however, pacified Rao and told the personnel department at the authority to relieve him when his one-year extension comes to an end in September, sources said.

Last night, Sharma was given the marching orders after the CBI registered two corruption cases against him. The Union urban development ministry replaced Sharma with P.C. Hota, who was brought back as the authority vice-chairman.

Hota, an Orissa cadre IAS officer of 1970, had left the authority in October to take up an assignment in the Union Public Service Commission.

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