'Builder-politician nexus thrives in Walled City'

Disgraced Delhi minister Asim Ahmed Khan is confident of emerging clean after allegations that he took a Rs 6-lakh bribe from a Matia Mahal builder. But the buzz in the corridors of the North Corporation is that there could be more skeletons in the cupboard.

Khan has denied the bribery allegations over which Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal sacked him from the Cabinet.

Sources in the civic agency said some fake complaint of illegal construction might have been sent to the North Corporation building department against the Matia Mahal property which is now under the lens.

The insinuation is that the minister or his office then offered to protect the builder.
“It is not new for middlemen being used by local politicians for blackmailing builders and extorting bribes,” said a civic agency official.

“There is no denying the fact that there is corruption in the civic agency’s building department and it is not possible for any building to come up in the Walled City area without the “blessings” of the area legislator, besides others,” said a retired engineer.

“The system does not allow clean people to survive in the Walled City area where property is worth crores of rupees,” he said.

Whether it is the BJP, the Congress or the AAP, no party can claim that the others are more corrupt as Khan’s alleged bribery case has exposed the builders’ mafia active in the entire Walled City, he said.

It’s an open secret that builders have to keep ministers in good humour to get their building plans sanctioned from the municipal corporation, or else legislators can raise objections, said a source.

“This might have happened in Khan’s case,” alleged a Congress councillor.
“Now, the AAP cannot heap dirt on the ruling BJP alone. The new party also seems part of the corruption in the civic agency,” said the Congress leader.

He also pointed to the controversy over an AAP legislator from west Delhi and his argument with civic officials who had gone there for demolishing illegal property.

“This proves that the ruling party legislators are actively playing a role in matters related to construction work – which fall in the purview of the civic agencies’ building department – in their constituencies,” the councillor alleged.

The west MLA had, however, said that he intervened only to prevent the civic squad from doing injustice to a property owner.
DH News Service

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