While Arun Jaitely is on the defensive in Parliament over alleged corruption in the DDCA, RTI documents with The News Minute show the DDCA held cricket matches at the Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium in Delhi without obtaining the necessary safety clearances.
According to documents received by RTI activist Subhash Agrawal, between October 2008 and January 2013, the DDCA organized at least nine matches without the mandatory clearances of Structural Stability Certificate (SSC) and No Objection Certificates (NOC) from the Chief Fire Officer and Assistant Electrical Inspector.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitleyâ€™s responses both in Parliament and in public have largely been focused on the Serious Fraud Investigation Officeâ€™s report, the minister has said next to nothing on the question of safety in the stadium.
Documents available with The News Minute show that the Central Information Commission observed on January 15, 2013 that the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) issued Provisional Occupancy Certificates (PoC) to the Delhi and District Cricket Association to hold the cricket matches.
It further states that the MCD issued PoC in favour of DDCA for matches held on the following nine occasions:
October 11, 2008 to October 13, 2008
September 28, 2009 to November 3, 2009
December 1, 2009 to December 31, 2009
March 1, 2010 to April 30, 2010
February 1, 2011 to May 31, 2011
April 4, 2012
April 17, 2012
January 6, 2012
January 6, 2013
The CIC notes that in all, except four instances in which certificates had been obtained by approaching the Delhi High Court, the Provisional Occupancy Certificates had been given pending the issue of final certificates. It noted that in all the instances, the certificates had been issued after receiving the Completion Certificate File dated July 14, 2008.
The CIC also notes that the DDCA owed the MCD property tax to the tune of Rs 8.67 crore as on January 4, 2013 as well as house tax. On these grounds too, the MCD had recommended that the PoCs should not be issued to the DDCA.
On April 4, 2012, the MCD had written to the DDCA that in the interest of public safety at large and before permitting the general public inside the grounds, the DDCA should get the necessary approvals viz. NOC from Chief Fire Officer, SSC from a qualified Structural Engineer and NOCs from Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC) as well as Assistant Electrical Inspector.
It added that as the PoC was being issued on the directions of the Delhi High Court, the DDCA would be responsible for any liabilities arising out of non-compliance of the statutory requirements and in the event of any mishap.
On April 2, 2005, the MCD said that in view of the India-Pakistan cricket match to be held on April 17, certain clearances had to be obtained from DUAC, Fire Department, land owning agency, ASI (already obtained) and SSC from the builder.
It added that under normal circumstances, these certificates are issued only after the building work is completed. However, considering that the building would not get completed before the scheduled match on April 17, 2005, the said clearances have not been issued but a partial structural safety certificate has been given instead. Further, it said that there is no provision in the Building Bye-laws for giving temporary completion-cum-occupancy certificate or partial structural safety certificate.