UIDAI land allotment scam: DDA accepts IAC prayer to scrap the deal

According to India Against Corruption-IAC, the plot of land formerly owned by telecom department in Delhi which is now worth Rs900 crore was allotted to UIDAI’s headquarter at throwaway price by changing the land use plan

The Delhi Development Authority’s statutory board of enquiry has accepted a prayer by India Against Corruption (IAC) to scrap change of land use (CLU) for the headquarter of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). Sarbajit Roy, the national convenor of IAC, had alleged that the valuable piece of land in New Delhi, worth Rs900 crore, was leased to Nandan Nilekani-led UIDAI at throwaway price using the CLU.


“After IAC highlighted that the land was a valuable piece of land being leased off for a pittance, it seems the DDA summoned the land allotting agency (L&DO). It also transpires that the possession of the land (formerly with the Department of Telecom-DoT) is now with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL). However, another state-run unit Mahanagar Telecom Nigam Ltd (MTNL) has laid claims over the land as it is in Delhi,” Mr Roy said.


The land was transferred to UIDAI at throwaway price due to the dispute between BSNL and MTNL, which is pending before the Delhi High Court, Mr Roy added.


At present UIDAI functions from an office in Jeevan Bharti Building in New Delhi’s Connaught Circus.


According to the petition filed by Mr Roy, the land allotted by the MUD to UIDAI was misinterpreted under Section 11 A of the Delhi Development Act. He said, “Several pieces of land meant for public or semi-public use have been engulfed by some ‘organisations’ and converted to government offices, the most brazen example has been the ‘Appu Ghar’.”


Mr Roy repeatedly mentioned that UIDAI is neither an ‘authority’ nor an institution set up by the law passed in Parliament and it operates on the basis of an executive notification. As per the notification, the Planning Commission was to be the nodal agency “for providing logistics, planning and budgetary support” and to “provide initial office and IT infrastructure”.


We have sent an email to officials of UIDAI and would incorporate their response, if any, in the story.

Here is the text of IAC's complaint alleging the UIDAI has been transferred prime public land in Central Delhi at throwaway rates in conjunction with Delhi's land mafia…

1) There is no reference to the specific site / land use of the modification in the present Master Plan, i.e. the so-called MPD-2021, or at least I am unable to find it in the MPD-2021 land-use plan available on the UDM website.

2) The public notice speaks of modifying the Zonal Development Plan for Zone-D. I say there is no such plan in existence. To the best of my knowledge, the ZDP-2021 for Zone-D is not in existence. The last I heard was that a known incompetent private planner, some Mr Ribiero or suchlike, had drafted up such a ZDP for the NDMC and DUAC to suit the land mafia, but it was so patently atrocious and self serving that it is yet to see the light of day. So please show me the referred ZDP-2021 for Zone-D as I am yet to see it. It is pertinent that I am a long time resident of Zone D which, unlike every other planning zone, has no ZDP and I fail to see why I am being discriminated against in planning issues.

3) I object that the lack of an up-do-date ZDP for Zone-D is allowing some organisations to swallow land notified for public and semi-public use and convert them into govt offices by misuse of section 11A. The most blatant such example being APPU GHAR which was swallowed by Supreme Court and DMRC, and in which all the public objections opposing the CLU were CORRUPTLY ignored by DDA. The SC used the land to sell to its advocates to set up private law chambers and the DMRC put up a tall commercial building to house some Railway Freight Corporation.

4) I object that there is no such "authority" known as UIDAI. The law to set it up is yet to be passed by Parliament, and the UIDAI is functioning, illegally, on the basis of an EGOM resolution whereby a private industrialist Shri Nandan Nilekani of INFOSYS was secretly appointed its Chairman without following due process and given the status of a Union Minister. I have established this under RTI, as I was the person who brought UIDAI within ambit of RTI as an extension of the Planning Commission. It is pertinent that when the Planning Commission received a copy of the CIC order in my case, they immediately asked Mr. Nilenkani and his team to vacate their offices within Planning Commission building within 48 hours. UIDAI then had to hire offices in Jeevan Bharati Building virtually overnight. The JPC (Joint Parliamentary Committee) has also objected to the UIDAI and said it is a useless body which should be scrapped.

5) It is thus clear that after I exposed UIDAI as being a fraudy outfit, they have managed to CORRUPTLY acquire a vacant plot of land in 2010-11 which is the subject of this CLU. It needs a CBI / CAG investigation as to who all in the Ministry of Urban Development or it's offices like L&DO / DDA etc. transferred the land which was Public/Semi-Public use in nature. It needs to be seen if the plot was acquired on commercial rates or it was a concessional allocation. The entire land acquisition / transfer file should be provided to objectors. There must be a CBI/CAG/ACB investigation into the modus operandi that the plot is acquired at a cheap rate and then the land mafia upgrades it to commercial use (UIDAI is a semi-PRIVATE concern) by bribing MUD officers and ministers of UPA govt. It is pertinent that Infosys has acquired a 1,000 sq yard plot in Vasant Vihar (Zone-F) last year for about Rs105 crore, so the land rate for a prime plot in Zone D should not be less than Rs20 lakhs per sq yard or about Rs900 crore for a 4,40 sq yard plot.

6) This CLU change will have significant alterations in local / site population density. Hence the CLU must be considered by the Central Government u/s 11A(2) only. The DDA has no role to play other than issuing the statutory notice. Members of the Authority have no role to play either, and their participation in any Board of Enquiry and Hearing is a breach of statutory provision, which shall be reported to the CBI and the ACB.

7) The UIDAI already has a massive Headquarter at Bangalore / Karnataka. I seem to recall that the ZDP/ MP2021 and the NCR plans not only mandate that no new Government offices are to come up in Delhi, but also that the existing ones are to shift out of Delhi. Therefore what kind of precedent is being set by such CORRUPT CLU public notices?

8) Please take clear notice that the citizens could not object when the DDA approved numerous spot CLUs to oblige the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court of India to grab land all over Delhi to accommodate their advocate's chambers only because their judges are a law unto to themselves under the Judges Inquiry Act and the SC judgments. However, for such corrupt CLUs like the instant one, DDA officers shall and will be reported to the CBI/CAG/ACB if they persist in rolling over to approve perverse CLUs to grossly favour semi-private irregular operators like UIDAI who are being facilitated to grab PUBLIC land at throwaway prices.

9) Not only is UIDAI so confident that their CLU will be approved, they have already conducted a design competition for their building - the winning bid for which seems to have a hugely tall structure well over the 15 meter height limit. It is thus clear that UIDAI / land mafia have advance information about impending Master Plan changes to allow this. This is also definitely a matter which falls for the CBI etc. to investigate considering that the sub-zone (which may be D4 or D5) is a low profile zone with many heritage structures. [http://www.architizer.com/en_us/projects/view/uidai-headquarters-at-delhi/40953/#.UdE7qpxR7Dw]



Deepak Gupta

3 years ago

This is good news. UIDAI acts like and is treated by govt as a govt agency, when in reality is a private body. The real issue here is not the land allotement, but the fact that UIDAI needs to be brought under the ambit of parliamentary scrutiny by passing a proper law.

An organization holding biometric data for Indian citizens should be a non-profit trust, fully answerable to the public under RTI and to the parliament as a representative of the public.

RBI tightens norms for NBFC loans against gold jewellery

While prohibiting NBFCs from issuing misleading, the central bank asked them to value gold jewellery accepted as collateral at the average of closing price of 22-carat gold in past 30 days

Seeking to keep the demand for gold under check, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has tightened the norms for loans against gold jewellery.


In a notification, the RBI said, “In order to standardise the valuation and make it more transparent to the borrower, it has been decided that gold jewellery accepted as collateral will have to be valued at the average of the closing price of 22 carat gold for the preceding 30 days as quoted by the Bombay Bullion Association (BBA)."


Currently, there is no standard method for arriving at the value of gold accepted as collateral and the valuation is arbitrary and opaque.


While accepting the gold as collateral, RBI said non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) should give in writing to the borrower, on their letterhead giving the purity (in terms of carats) and weight of gold.


If the gold is of purity less than 22 carat, the NBFC should translate the collateral into 22 carat and state the exact grams of the collateral. In other words, jewellery of lower purity of gold shall be valued proportionately.


The loan to value ratio for loans against jewellery will be 60%.


The notification further said NBFCs financing against the collateral of gold must insist on a copy of the PAN card of the borrower for all transactions above Rs5 lakh. High value loans of Rs1 lakh and above must only be disbursed by cheque. It also directed gold loan companies to standardised documentation across all branches.


"It has been decided that where the gold jewellery pledged by a borrower at any one time or cumulatively on loan outstanding is more than 20 grams, NBFCs must keep record of the verification of the ownership of the jewellery. The method of establishing ownership should be laid down as a Board approved policy,” the notification said.


The central bank has also prohibited NBFCs from issuing misleading advertisements like claiming the availability of loans in a matter of two-three minutes.


Noting that unbridled growth may not be in the overall interests, RBI has also tightened the rules for opening branches by such NBFCs.


“NBFCs, which already have more than 1,000 branches, may approach RBI for prior approval for any further branch expansion,” it said.


Besides, it said that no new branches will be allowed to be opened without the facilities for storage of gold jewellery and minimum security facilities for the pledged gold jewellery.


With regard to auction, the notification said that it should be conducted in the same town or taluka in which the branch that has extended the loan is located.


While auctioning the gold, the NBFC should declare a reserve price for the pledged ornaments, it said, adding that this should not be less than 85% the previous 30-day average closing price of 22 carat gold as declared by BBA.


Marching Ahead
“We want that education by which character is formed, strength of mind is increased, the intellect is expanded,” said Swami Vivekananda. Aditi Roy writes about a youth organisation that works towards this 
What started as a library offering engineering and management books in 1991 has developed into an organisation devoted to services for the youth and the underprivileged. Located at Dombivli (a distant Mumbai suburb), the founding members of Vivekanand Seva Mandal started an academy to provide free educational assistance to engineering students. The Mandal gradually grew into its present-day avatar which undertakes a variety of social, educational and upliftment activities. 
In 1996, the faculty of renowned engineering colleges like Veermata Jeejabai Technical Institute (VJTI), Mumbai, decided to set up an academy to provide training to underprivileged youth. “Engineering has always been a good career option for students in our area. The concept of technology has been very well accepted by people here, so they are drawn towards it,” says Krunal Mhatre, a karyakarta (volunteer) associated with the Mandal since two years.
Professionals or students residing around Dombivli volunteer as teachers. They monitor the progress of each student and conduct motivation classes. One such programme runs in Maanpada village near Dombivli. Sankalp Patkar, an engineer doing his MBA from a reputed business school, is one such volunteer. He learnt about the Mandal during his second year at the engineering college. “We have a two-hour weekly class to teach students subjects like Maths, English and Science through audio-visual presentations.” 
Equipment is expensive so funding becomes an issue, but the alumni, who hold senior corporate positions, help raise funds. “We implement a holistic approach in assessing progress of the students through various activities that are part of the programme. Our main thrust is character building, becoming a better human being,” says Mr Patkar.
The library houses over 7,000 books and the Mandal has set up a study centre in Dombivli that can accommodate up to 100 students at a time. These facilities are managed and supervised by a team of student volunteers, who get hands-on training in management of new social projects launched by the Mandal.
These include the i2i project launched in 2011 to connect the students directly with industry. The project included placements for the fresh graduates, honing entrepreneurial initiatives and enhancing employability of the students. Project i2i got further impetus in 2012 with a Career Fest. Over 2,300 engineering students and 200 companies participated in the Fest and 100 jobs were on offer. An IT Centre and a Technology Development Centre are two other projects where volunteers work at streamlining processes or developing new techniques. 
ZEP (the Marathi word for achieving one’s full potential) is the name of the Mandal’s educational assistance fund for needy tribal students who lack resources to continue their studies. ZEP aims to provide high-quality education to the children in the area and is available to students from eighth standard to graduation level and for those pursuing courses in IT and nursing.
The Mandal’s social work is not restricted to Dombivli; it extends to the nearby villages of Vihigaon, Khogade and Wada taluka in Thane district. The self-help groups (SHGs) set up by the Mandal provide support for establishing marketing channels, arrange finances, guide in logistics and product development. The Mandal is actively involved in providing assistance for agriculture and watershed management. It runs medical camps in collaboration with local NGOs and doctors. Under its Project Tejas, homes in Khogade are provided solar lamps to replace kerosene lamps, thus saving money and the environment. Project Agricultural Development helps farmers grow cash crops to improve their incomes. A village committee has been formed that includes women to facilitate communication between farmers and volunteers of the Mandal. 
Donations to Vivekananda Seva Mandal are eligible for exemption under Section 80G of the Income-tax Act. 



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