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Legal eagle in CBI sights over flat scam

New Delhi, April 3: The Delhi Development Authority scam has taken a dramatic turn with the Central Bureau of Investigation seizing documents indicating the role of legal luminaries in the misuse of official powers.

The bureau has seized a file regarding allotment of a flat to a legal luminary in south Delhi. The DDA, through a lottery, had allotted a flat to the luminary for purchase in the Vasant Kunj area of south Delhi.

Sources said he was interested in another flat but as it was not possible legally, he started pressuring the DDA for a favourable decision. The sources said he even wrote to the DDA on his official letterhead to influence the decision. A top DDA officer also lobbied for the luminary, they added. However, names of more than one legal luminary are doing the rounds in the DDA corruption cases.

This follows Judge Shameet Mukherjee’s resignation on March 31. The resignation of the Delhi High Court judge came amid reports that it was linked to the raids on DDA vice-chairman Subhash Sharma, commissioner (land disposal) Anand Mohan Sharan, director (land) Jagdish Chandra and commissioner (planning) Vijay Risbut.

The CBI had allegedly seized legal files of property cases heard by the high court while trailing the links of Dharam Bir Khattar, Sharma’s pointman, with influential people.

Sources said that after the raids the CBI top brass had a meeting with Supreme Court Chief Justice V.N. Khare and Chief Justice of Delhi High Court B.P. Patel, where the bureau brought to their notice the issue of corruption in the judiciary. It was after this meeting that Mukherjee was allegedly forced to resign, they added. But Mukherjee has denied any link with the DDA officials or Khattar.

The bureau today arrested Sharma after interrogating him since morning. Sharma’s name figures in the two first information reports the CBI filed on March 26, the day before it raided the houses and offices of the four DDA officers. Sharan was arrested earlier.

All the four officers were accused of granting favours to DLF Universal Limited, a construction company, and Modern Public School Education Society in lieu of financial gains, the CBI alleged. The CBI has sought public help in tracing Khattar, who is on the run since the day the raids took place.

The CBI has also recommended suspension of all the four DDA officers. Chandra and Risbut have been attending office daily, though booked by the CBI.

CBI officials feel that the Union urban development ministry should initiate administrative action against the officials to retain the objectivity in probe.

It is learnt that a senior ministry official had recommended action against Chandra and Risbut a couple of days after the raids, but no action was taken.

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