STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

House of Corruption: How ‘unholy nexus’ between Supertech, Noida officials helped Emerald Court project to building bye-laws

An initial probe pointed fingers at collusion by over 50 officers with the builder – some are gazetted officers; others are in planning, group housing, finances and engineering departments.

Published: 13th September 2021 04:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th September 2021 07:29 PM   |  A+A-

Supertech’s twin towers. (File | Parveen Negi, EPS)

Supertech’s twin towers. (File | Parveen Negi, EPS)

Express News Service

In a landmark judgment on August 31 to demolish the twin 40-storey towers in Supertech Ltd’s Emerald Court project for violation of building bye-laws, the Supreme Court also highlighted the builder’s ‘unholy nexus’ with New Okhla Industrial Development Authority (NOIDA) officials. 

An initial internal probe by the authority pointed fingers at collusion by over 50 officers with the builder – some are gazetted officers; others are in planning, group housing, finances and engineering departments; and the rest are retired.

The probe report dealt with land allocations to GH-04 and Sector-93 A, and approvals granted to the project map revised in 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2012.

The findings revealed that irregularities in the Emerald Court project began in 2004, and till 2012, almost half a dozen concerned officers allegedly turned a blind eye towards it.

To bring to book the corrupt officials who were responsible in the matter between 2004 and 2017, the UP government set up a four-member special investigation team (SIT) to probe into the matter on September 2.

However, highly placed sources claim that barring one, all other officials on the SIT radar have retired.

Moreover, Supertech’s case is viewed as being just the tip of the iceberg of the corruption prevailing in the authority since three decades.

How it started 

NOIDA was formed to put infrastructure development on fast track in NCR.

Although set up in 1976, political observers say Noida became a milch cow for bureaucrats and politicians in early 1990s when the economy opened up and land prices started shooting up.

Many private players clamoured to get their share in the pie. Officers posted in the authority used the opportunity to make a fortune. A number of officers on the wrong side of the law were posted in Noida around this period.

Irrespective of political regimes, both Noida and Greater Noida have turned into nerve centres of corruption fuelled by a  trio of Noida officials, politicians and builders.

Despite many scams and subsequent probes by investigating agencies over the years, some officers might have faced action but so far no politician has been netted for irregularities.

In fact, postings in Noida and Greater Noida Authorities are considered plum as these are viewed as money-making hubs.

Ruling politicians, allegedly, kept granting posts to their confidantes in these authorities to draw the real benefit.

Realty-political scams

The first name that comes to mind in this context is Ex-UP Chief Secretary Neera Yadav.

A CBI court sentenced Yadav and former IAS officer Rajiv Kumar to three years’ imprisonment in November 20, 2012, for becoming embroiled in the Noida land allotment scam during their tenure as Noida CEO and deputy CEO from January 1994 to December 1995.

Yadav took voluntary retirement in 2008, while Kumar was the principal secretary.

The duo challenged the verdict in the Allahabad High Court and later the Supreme Court. Both upheld the trial court’s verdict in 2016 and 2017 respectively. This was Yadav’s second conviction in the Noida land scam.

Earlier in 2010, she was awarded a four-year jail term for illegally allotting land to Flex Industries in Noida. She was granted bail in this case, when the second sentence was issued in 2012.

Yadav was considered very close to Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav.

Despite being ‘voted’ one of the three most corrupt IAS officers (UP) in a poll conducted by the UP IAS Association, she was promoted to chief secretary of state by the CM when he came into power for the second time in 2003. In 2007, the apex court ordered her removal.

The character of Noida as the milch cow did not alter when the regime changed from SP to BSP in 2007 when Mayawati became UP CM for the fourth time.

Noida came up with a much talked about Rs 1,000 crore scam that illegally allocated 99 pieces of farmhouse land to the high and mighty.

When a Lokayukta probe was conducted and the needle of suspicion was pointed towards the top, the ombudsman dropped all charges.

The Mayawati government also came under fire for alleged corruption in constructing Agra-Noida expressway, formation of the Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA) and massive land allotments at dirt cheap rates to private players.

This political patronage was exposed when a small-time junior engineer of Noida, Yadav  Singh, was found to be instrumental in deals within Noida, Greater Noida and YEIDA, during successive governments from the mid-1990s to 2012.

Highly placed sources state Singh had a strong say in the deals and worked directly for political bigwigs in Lucknow.

Any enterprise willing to work in Noida had to get a ‘No Objection Certificate’ from Singh, i.e. pay him cut money.

Singh first came under the scanner of investigating agencies in 2012 after being accused of accumulating wealth over Rs 1,000 crore.

The Allahabad High Court ordered a CBI probe in 2015, following which he was suspended.

The Akhilesh Yadav government moved Supreme Court, challenging the high court’s order for the CBI inquiry. Yadav Singh is now in Ghaziabad jail, facing legal trial in connection with his corrupt practices.

Jinxed project

Where

In Noida’s Sector 93A, along Noida-Greater Noida Expressway.

What

The two towers to be demolished soon: Apex and Ceyane.

857 apartments.
627 sold.

Early days

Emerald Court project plan approved in June 2005. Plan modified to 15 towers with 11 floors in December 2016. 

Plan revision

Plan revised in November 2009 to include Apex and Ceyane, with 24 floors each. Floors increased to 40 in the two towers in March 2012.

RWA moves court

In December 2012 Emerald Court Owners Residents Welfare Association moves Allahabad High Court claiming the towers violated UP Apartment Owners Act.

Demolition order

In April 2014, HC orders demolition of the towers and refund to buyers with 14% interest. 

Builders approach SC

In May 2014, Noida Authority and Supertech move Supreme Court claiming no norm was flouted. Homebuyers too move court seeking refund. 

Final order

In August 2021, Supreme Court slams Noida Authority for misuse of powers to sanction the two towers, upholds HC order.

NOIDA REALTY PROJECTS AT PRESENT

325 Total approved group housing projects in Noida/Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway region at present.

98 Projects given completion certificates or are complete after fulfilling all the formalities and obligations.

PROMINENT UNFINISHED PROJECTS

  • Dozens of projects (structures) by Unitech and 3C groups have been left half way.

  • Projects where families are staying but construction is incomplete.

  • Apex Athena, Sector 75.

  • Supertech Eco Village 2, Greater Noida West.

  • Golf Greens, Sector 79.

  • Mayfair Residency, Greater Noida West.

The Supertech indictment is the tip of the iceberg of the nexus between politicians, builders and officials in Noida and Greater Noida Authorities. Whether they will be brought to book remains the big question, reports Namita Bajpai.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp