DELHI POLICE SAYS THAT TWO LABS CLEARED THE SOFTWARE USE IN HOUSING DRAW BUT REFUSE TO GIVE THE COPY OF REPORTS
M. K. Gupta
In its public advt dated 15.11.2009 on the draw Housing Scheme 2008, DDA said “In view of clearance given by Hon’ble High Court and Economic Offence Wing, Crime Branch, Delhi Police, Delhi, DDA is happy to announce the commencement of allotment of flats to the successful applicants”. In its press release of 28/29th November, 2009, Ms. Neemo Dhar, Director, PR, DDA also stated “The E.O.W.’s report regarding Housing Draw-2008 wherein allegations of rigging of the software and certain irregularities were alleged, has been received. The report comprises investigations by EOW, software report from GEQD, Hyderabad and also report from C-DAC. ……….. “C-DAC could not find any evidence that the software had any vulnerability to be compromised nor could they detect any evidence of external tampering”.
An RTI applicant demanded the copies of the two reports viz. GEQD, Hyderabad and C-DAC, Trivandrum from the Economic Offence Wing, Crime Branch, Delhi Police and upon the refusal to give report, his appeal was heard by Mrs. Sushma Singh, Central Info Commissioner on 26.10.2010. During the hearing attended by Shri T.R. Mongia, ACP and CPIO and two other officers of EOW, CB, Delhi Police, they pleaded that the two reports cannot be divulged as some cases are still going on. They also admitted that they wrote a letter to the DDA informing that the labs have not found any irregularity in the software. The DDA produced that letter before Justice G S Sistani of Delhi High Court seeking clearance for the draw and obtained the go-ahead for allotting the flats from the Court on that basis. The Delhi Police said before the CIC that the case is still going on and therefore the reports from two labs cannot be disclosed. The charge sheet is still to be filed. Delhi Police said that the High Court has not made it a party to it in the case and therefore it has not got any opportunity to make its submissions before the High Court implying that the Delhi Police is not responsible for the action of the DDA. Police also admitted that it has got the final reports from the two labs.
M. K. Gupta, applicant was surprised on the arguments of the Delhi Police that while no irregularity has been found, where is the question of any guilty and pending investigation? He said this issue should not be clubbed with the one of relating to Jhunjhunu and elsewhere as they are not at all connected with the veracity of the Software. Since both the labs have given clean chit to the software, therefore there is no question of impeding the process of any non-existing investigation on this account. Moreover, since the applicants for the DDA Housing Scheme were about 5 lakh and 67 thousand, this is an important case and the reports of the Labs should be disclosed in the larger public interest as the software was sent for checking on the public demand.
During the hearing, Mrs. Sushma Singh remarked that the High Court may have cleared because of the letter sent by the EOW, Delhi Police to the DDA which the DDA has placed before the High Court.
Let us remember that Justice G.S. Sistani has given go head to the DDA after the DDA informed him that the Labs have given clean chit to the software. The other case No. WPC/151/2009 was dismissed by Justice Sistani for non-appearance of the advocate of the petitioner, Shri Salek Chan Jain. Salek Chand told that he came to know about the non-appearance of his advocate only after he heard that his case was dismissed.
During the hearing, Information Commissioner did not seem to be convinced with the arguments of the Delhi Police.
In the past, contradictory information was provided by the DDA on the software. Mrs. Earlier on 24.11.2008, Poonam Mathur, CPIO informed M. K. Gupta, “software is checked by independent judges/ observers earlier many times including IT experts from IIT Delhi.” On the contrary, she informed to Mr Basab Das Gupta, another applicant, on 27.2.2009, “no agency was involved for testing the software used in the Housing Scheme draw.” When the matter was heard by Shri M. L. Sharma, Central Information Commissioner on 31.7.2009, Mrs. Mathur said that two separate responses were given in the context in which the queries were raised and that reading them out of context would not be proper.
M. K. Gupta is now going to ask the copies of the letters sent by the EWO, Crime Branch, Delhi Police to DDA. The decision in the case by Ms. Sushma Singh, IC is expected to be uploaded on the CIC’s website shortly.
The author is not against the allotment but he only wanted that that the draw should be transparent and without any malpractice.