An internal probe by the Noida Authority, ordered by the state government after the Supreme Court observed there was collusion between government officials and Supertech that allowed the twin towers to come up at Emerald Court, has found that the rationale behind setting up the committee was an increase in the number of group housing societies that had to be approved at the time.
The seven officials, five of whom are now retired, named in Noida Authority’s report that has been sent to the state government were all part of this committee. The 2009-12 period has become the focus of the investigation because amended plans for the twin towers, including one that allowed the height to be doubled, were approved twice in this time. The seven officials had handled the Emerald Court file since June 2005, according to Noida’s probe. Land for Emerald Court in Sector 93A was allotted in 2004.
Revised maps were sanctioned in December 2006, November 2009 and March 2012. The Noida Authority, meanwhile, amended its own building regulations in June 2006 and November 2010. The committee existed before and after the years the probe focused on, likely for a considerable period between 2007 and 2014. A retired Noida officer said before 2007, a senior administrative official was required to approve building plans after the planning department’s clearance. From 2014, the planning department was brought under an additional CEO.
The Noida probe has found that no senior officer put any remark or noting on a file till it was approved by the CATP. There are three former CATPs in the seven names the report has pinpointed. The others are a former additional general manager of the group housing division, a former civil engineer and two planning managers, including Mukesh Goyal, who was suspended earlier this week after the Supreme Court ordered the demolition of the twin towers.
The working of the committee was supervised by an additional CEO. The special investigation team (SIT) formed by the state government will need to look at the whole approval process, which will include examining the role of officers on special duty, ACEOs and other senior officials.
An officer who was part of the probe team said it needs to be examined if the committee was set up because officials at the time didn’t want to sanction building plans on their own or to expedite the process through the committee’s intervention. “The decisions taken during board meetings during that period will have to be reviewed thoroughly,” said the officer.
“In that period, scores of plans were revised and the committee’s mandate was not limited to the Emerald Court twin towers. But we did not examine the other files as our mandate was to identify officials related to only the Emerald Court case,” the officer added.