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May 24, 2001 - May 24, 2001

TDO staff agrees to bear ‘consequences’ Thursday, May 24, 2001

Ahmedabad, May 23: The town development staff of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation announced on Wednesday that they were ready to bear the consequences provided the accusation leveled against them following building collapses on January 26 are proved true.

However, they defended themselves at a press conference and emphasised that they cannot be singled out and held responsible as the plans of high-rise buildings were also sanctioned by higher authorities.

Assistant TDO Chandrakant Suthar said, “It is unfair to book only the TDOs for what happened. After all, plans of all the high-rise buildings in the city are sanctioned by none other than the municipal commissioner and deputy municipal commissioner, then they why have they not been booked?”

The police has booked complaints against 30 AMC-TDOs and eight Auda town developers for being involved in irregularities. So far, one of AMC officials has been arrested, while the others are on the run.

Mr Suthar further said, “Plans of several buildings were passed under political pressure. Most of the illegal constructions were done only because the higher authorities permitted it.”

Citing an example of a judgement given by the court in 1973, which is almost similar to the present cases, Mr Suthar said, “A seven-storied building collapsed in Jamalpur and a police complaint was lodged against the builder and architect along with three TDOs.

The court gave a ruling against the builder and the architect, and punished them with seven-year imprisonment. However the TDOs were released.” Talking about the booking of the accused builders and TDOs under IPC 304 and 114, he said, “How can a similar section of law be invoked against the builders and the TDOs when the magnitude of crime in both cases is considerably different.”

Assistant TDO Suryakant Master confessed to being aware of the irregularities concerned, “but preferred to keep quiet lest he suffer the wrath of higher officials involved in the offence.”
The TDO staff further said, “We are not responsible for poor workmanship, extra construction and construction of overhead tanks, amongst other irregularities.”

One of the officials said, “Even assurances by the municipal commissioner now seem baseless as he has done nothing to help us out.” On being asked why have the absconding TDOs have not yet applied for the anticipatory bail, Mr Suthar replied, “Since the builders have not been given anticipatory bails, we did not ask for it.”

News Source : The AsianAge Ahmedabad Edition [ The coolest Newspaper for city ]

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‘Ramchandran’s resignation will not affect bank’ Thursday, May 24, 2001

Ahmedabad, May 23: The sudden resignation of Madhavpura Mercantile Cooperative Bank’s administrator M. Ramchandran, though it is not accepted by the authority so far, will not have any effect on the process of reviving the bank, stressed the experts from the cooperative banking sector of the state.

Mr Ramchandran submitted his resignation to the central registrar of cooperatives on Monday.
However, as the resignation has not yet been accepted, Mr Ramchandran is still handling his post.

He submitted his resignation following a letter written by Gujarat Urban Cooperatives Banks Federation commenting on his working style. Mr Ramchandran’s resignation came at a crucial time when the revival committee for the MMCB presented its report to the Union finance ministry.

Vice president of GUCBF N.K. Patel told The Asian Age that he had written a letter to the central registrar as they opined that the administrator was not competent enough to handle the job. They demanded to change the administrator.

He also said that the incident would not affect the revival of the bank as an alternate candidate would be appointed. They would not allow the revival process to go in doldrums for such a small reason, he added.

Other cooperative leaders like Jayram Patel shared the same view that the revival of the MMCB would not be affected by the resignation of the administrator.

Regional director of Reserve Bank of India Mr Y.S. Das said that so far the central registrar has not accepted the resignation of Mr Ramchandran and he is still working as the administrator, so the question of a crisis does not arise. If his resignation is accepted then the RBI will have to re-appoint another administrator in his place, he added.

News Source : The AsianAge Ahmedabad Edition [ The coolest Newspaper for city ]

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Crime branch finds clues in telecom scam Thursday, May 24, 2001

Vadodara, May 23: The detection of crime branch officials, who are trying to catch three employees of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited’s Vadodara Telecom District, have made some breakthrough by obtaining important clues in the case.

BSNL’s employees R T Sharma, Kiran Rana and Shailesh Chanpura are absconding since the day the police unearthed the multi-crore scandal.DCB’s economic cell police inspector N K Rathod told The Asian Age that the police is tackling the case with care.

He said, “The case is probably one of the most intelligent ones which continued for almost five to six years. We have already deputed constables and are keeping a close watch on the residence of the absconding telecom officials.”

He added, “We have also identified that except junior telecom officer, divisional engineer and sub divisional engineer no one is allowed to enter the premise called Fetex, where the technical equipment are kept.

Fetex is an important part in the scam as the pulse of the calls made are registered here.”It can be recalled that the police busted the racket in which the agents with the help of telecom employees managed ISD calls to Gulf countries for the callers by charging a fixed rate of Rs 200.

The agents were Kalpesh Shah, Amit R. Bhatt (both residents of Hirabhagol in Dabhoi), Jayesh M. Patel, a resident of Vijaynagar in Gorwa, Manoj alias Kaushik Patel, Ashish R. Modi, of Sarvodayanagar and Suresh Pundlik, a resident of Sama area.

In the meantime, officials on Wednesday got hold of the telephone numbers dialed in the past 18 months. Mr Rathod said, “We have checked the bank accounts of R T Sharma and came to know that he has invested Rs 60 lakhs in fixed deposits which seems disproportionate.”

Earlier on Tuesday, the BSNL in-charge general manager Pradeep Srivastava had suspended all the three employees for their involvement in the scam.Commissioner of police J Mahapatra told The Asian Age that if required they would enter Mr Sharma’s residence by breaking the lock as part of the investigation.

He said, “We have deputed constables at Sharma’s residence and we would like to wait for some time but in case he does not turn up we might enter the house as part of our investigation.”

News Source : The AsianAge Ahmedabad Edition [ The coolest Newspaper for city ]

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‘Guilty civic officers to be suspended’ Thursday, May 24, 2001

Ahmedabad, May 23: Urban development minister, Parmanand Khattar announced on Wednesday that investigations have been initiated against 38 corrupt officials of various civic bodies.

Mr. Khattar told The Asian Age that 34 of them are officers from six municipal corporations of Gujarat, while two are senior officials of urban development authorities. He also said that all those found guilty would be suspended.

The I-T department raided the residence of a senior town planner of Ahmedabad Urban Development Corporation and assistant town planner of AMC, on Tuesday. The officials recovered large amount of unaccountable assets.

“Vast amount of property worth Rs 17 lakh, registered in the name of the officers’ wife was confis cated,” the official informed. The team also seized incriminating documents and cash worth Rs four lakhs and jewellery worth Rs 13 lakhs.

IT officials also sealed two bank lockers that belonged to her. Significantly, the evader has admitted IT evasion of Rs 51 lakhs, the source informed. The official’s wife has four houses registered in her name, two in Ahmedabad and the rest in Calcutta.

Moreover, she also owns a farmhouse in Bopal and some land in Sarkhej. “The investigation is on and we are still expecting a bigger amount.”The IT department had issued search warrants and raided seven premises of both the accused Auda and Amc officials. A teacher at Asia high school and the wife of the AUDA official were suspected of tax evasions.

“We studied her IT returns and collected data of her entire property. We were also aware that her husband holds a good post in Auda and his name is there in the complaints lodged by residents, whose buildings collapsed during the earthquake,” the official said.

However Auda chairman, Surendra Patel said, “We are not taking any action against our town planners since the property is in the name of his wife.” The investigating team informed of having found movable and immovable property worth Rs 17 lakhs belonging to assistant TDO.

The official said that his bunglow is centrally air-conditioned and is worth Rs 40 lakhs.
Moreover, he owns three luxurious cars. IT officials have found that the official owns an entire third storey in the New York tower on the Gandhinagar highway and have rented it to Manekchowk Bank.

News Source : The AsianAge Ahmedabad Edition [ The coolest Newspaper for city ]

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Langoor hits 3 in city Thursday, May 24, 2001

Vadodara, May 23: Panic spread on Kharivav Road in Dandia bazaar on Wednesday afternoon when a female langoor went berserk after its young one was hit by a speeding motorcycle. Agitated by the incident, she hit at least three people. However, none of them sustained injuries.

No sooner did the news spread like wild fire, around 200 people gathered at the spot making things difficult for the volunteers of the Gujarat Society for Prevention of Cruelty of Animals to control the langoor.

According to local corporator Ashok Pawar, the langoor was trying to cross the road when the accident occurred. People were all the more terrified, as the incidents of monkeyman of New Delhi are fresh in their minds, Mr. Pawar said.

One of the eyewitnesses said that the person driving the motorcycle was talking on a mobile. A three-member team of GSPCA comprising Snehal Bhatt, Rajesh Bhavsar and Amar Parekh took possession of the young one, which was bleeding. It is under treatment with the GSPCA. The area was cordoned off for some time.

News Source : The AsianAge Ahmedabad Edition [ The coolest Newspaper for city ]

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