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HC seeks Centre, Delhi govt's response on plea seeking CBI probe in 'misappropriation' of funds for construction workers

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked Centre, Delhi government and others to file their response on a plea seeking CBI probe into alleged misappropriation of Rs 3,200 crore cess funds meant for construction and migrant workers.

ANI | New Delhi | Updated: 16-06-2020 15:08 IST | Created: 16-06-2020 15:08 IST
HC seeks Centre, Delhi govt's response on plea seeking CBI probe in 'misappropriation' of funds for construction workers
Representative image.. Image Credit: ANI

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked Centre, Delhi government and others to file their response on a plea seeking CBI probe into alleged misappropriation of Rs 3,200 crore cess funds meant for construction and migrant workers. A division bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar also asked the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) and Delhi Construction Workers' Welfare Board to file their reply on the matter and listed it for further hearing on July 2.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by Vinod Kumar Shukla, president of an NGO named Deendayal Upadhyaya Sanstha, also seeking a CAG probe into the diversion of massive funds that were meant for migrants and construction workers. Senior advocate Sidharth Luthra and lawyers Yogesh Pachauri, R Balaji and Nachiketa Joshi, appearing for the petitioner, strongly argued the matter and brought to the notice of the court, and added that some incriminating documents annexed with the petition show rampant corruption by the Delhi government and Welfare Board.

They told the court that the erring authorities were fraudulently giving benefits to non-construction workers such as auto drivers, factory workers, tailors, hawkers, etc. After perusing the documents placed on record by the senior advocate Sidharth Luthra, the court suggested impleading Anti-Corruption Bureau as one of the necessary parties since a number of complaints are pending with the ACB and accordingly, the court asked ACB to file its response along with other respondents.

Shukla, in his petition, sought directions to the Delhi government to disburse the funds to genuine construction workers entitled to receive the same. The plea sought directions to an independent investigating agency like CBI to investigate the role of the respondent, Delhi government and Delhi Building and Other Construction Workers' Welfare Board and to find out how cess funds, which has been constituted exclusively for construction workers, has been disbursed to non-construction workers for several years.

It said that there is a deep-rooted nexus between the trade unions and outsourced board employees to carry out large scale illegal registration of non-construction workers as construction workers by charging huge amounts with a condition that they should be paid 40-50 percent of the benefit amount. It also sought directions to the Comptroller and Auditor General to conduct auditing the accounts of the board regarding the disbursal of cess fund preferably from the year 2015-16 to 2019-20.

"According to some government officials, more than 80 percent registration has been carried out of non-construction workers and most of these beneficiaries have their own houses in Delhi and are not genuine construction workers," the plea said. Each state has its own fund called cess fund, which is collected from the owners and employers of building and other construction works as defined under Section 2 (d) of the Act by collecting 1 percent on the cost incurred on the project. (ANI)


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