The purpose of this report is to highlight unethical practices involved in one of the well-known scams in India – The Dares Housing Society Scam. This society is a cooperative society in Iambi and the scam dates back to February 2002. At that time, a request was made to the then Chief Minister of Maharajah’s for allotment of land in Cola area of Iambi for the construction Of this housing society. Cola is one Of the most posh areas in Iambi having Marina Point in its vicinity. The welfare of serving and retired personnel of the Defense Services was the main motive behind the allotment.
But over a period of 10 years, some bureaucrats, military officers and politicians went ahead to mould the rules in their favor, so as to get the flats allotted to them at much lowered prices. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India 2011 report to the President pointed out The episode of Dares Co-operative Housing Society reveals how a group of select officials, placed in key posts, could subvert rules and regulations in order to grab prime government land- a public property- for personal benefit. ‘ The allegations against the three former Chief Ministers of Maharajah’s, Shill
Kumar Shined, the late Valparaiso Dukedoms and Ashes Chapin are still in process by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CB), Income tax (IT) department and Enforcement Directorate (DEED). Background of the Dares Co operative Housing Society A serving Sub-divisional Officer in the Defense Estates Office (DOE) Iambi, Shari Ramadan Seasonal Taker, addressed a letter to the Chief Minister of Maharajah’s in 2002 as Chief Promoter of the Dares Co-operative Housing Society. This letter was regarding the allotment of 38542 sq. Meters of land in
Block No VI of the Back Bay Reclamation Scheme (BRB), Cola, Iambi. The major reason for this allotment was quoted as the welfare of serving and retired personnel of the Defense Services in numerous communications among the Society, Defense authorities and the Government of Maharajah’s from time to time. Relaxations were sought in favor of the society from time to time on the grounds of Girls’ hostel for wards of Army officers posted in far-flung areas, welfare of Cargill War heroes, welfare of War-widows and of soldiers who have served their motherland.
But gradually it became clear that here was no place for any girls’ hostel or any other facility for welfare of servicemen. It is quite obvious that though references to ‘widows’ and ‘Cargill Heroes’ were repeatedly made, they didn’t have the financial capability to meet the cost of the flats in this society. Violations The Dares Housing Cooperative Society was constructed in the Cola area of Iambi. The Indian Defense forces consider this area to be a sensitive coastal area and there are many Indian Defense establishments here.
Vice Admiral Janssen Basin, Commander, Western Naval Command, pointed that he building posed a major security concern as it overlooked many military installations in that area. He wrote a letter in July, 2010 to Defense Ministry seeking action against the promoters and the officers involved In overlooking the construction itself since 2003. In the aftermath of November, 2008 terror attack on Iambi via sea route, the again highlighted the security concerns posed by this 100-meter tall building.
This building has also violated the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRY) II limit of a height of 30 Meters because it is next to a planned helipad and military installations. In a letter to the Defense Ministry and the Army, Vice Admiral Basin mentioned that despite repeated intimations to various concerned departments of Maharajah’s Government to not issue a ‘No Objection Certificate(NCO)’ or an ‘Occupation Certificate (CO)’, it came to notice that the Iambi Metropolitan Region Development Authority (AMERADA) had issued an CO to Dares Society building.
The inquiry ordered by Defense Minister A K Antonym also didn’t rule out the involvement of some officers with building promoters at ground level, though it appeared to be a criminal conspiracy. It is not surprising as the scam took place over a period of 10 years and had to require the active involvement of many high ranked officials. Many rules were bent or flouted to allow the construction. Some of the examples are obtaining NCO from Army for construction of building in such a sensitive zone, modifying the AMERADA development plan and obtaining another for residential development in Coastal Regulation Zone.
Some of the big names who were allotted flats were the former Army chiefs Generals N C Vic and Deeper Kapok, ex-Navy chief Admiral Menhaden Sings, former Army Vice Chief Let Gene Shantung Chowder, roomer Union Minister and Shiva Seen MM Surest. All efforts made by some honest officers were ignored by the senior officials. As stated by former defense estate officer and original whistler’s in Dares Housing Scam, Sahara Ray, ‘The principal director, defense estates southern command was the advisor of GO in C Southern Command Let General Shoat, who was a member of Dares.
Many senior defense estate officers in southern command and EDGE were also members and had vested interest in diluting my objections and observations”. He had also indicated to his seniors that the society was dubious and had also objected the initial NCO by Army, terming it as a security threat. The construction of this society also violated some of the rules laid down by Ministry of Environment. The state environment department had informed the CB that it never gave clearance to the society.
The department stated that some environment related clearances had been given directly by the state Urban Development Department (DUD) on its own and it was only after a Non-Governmental Organization (MONGO) wrote to it in 2008, that the department got to know about this. After repeated reminders by CB to DUD seeking clarifications, DUD replied saying that it was not aware of anything. Investigations At a Glance The Government didn’t react at all when the issue was first raised in a newspaper report in 2003.
It was only in 2010, when the media raised this issue again that the questions were asked on the mass irregularities that had happened in terms of allotments and violations in clearances. A blame game started after that. Union Minister Valparaiso Dukedoms pointed the then Revenue Minister Ashes Chapin had recommended the bending of by-laws to include civilians in the flat allotments. He said he had only signed the letter of intent and not the final order. The resignation of Chief Minister Ashes Chapin followed that.
Some allotted like former Navy chief Admiral Menhaden Sings also returned the flats trying to prove that they were not involved in bending of rules for allotment to their near and dear ones. The Defense Ministry asked the Army, the Navy and the Directorate of Estates to set up court of inquiry to probe the issue. CB was also ordered to probe the issue. A lot of petitions were files in Bombay High Court to monitor the CB investigation. The petitions are Criminal PILL No. 20 of 201 1 by Praying Waterworks, Criminal Writ Petition No. 359 of 2010 by Simpered Sings and Criminal PILL No. 36 of 2010 by Menhaden Sings and others. Due to these petitions, the Bombay High Court expressed its strong displeasure, on February 28, 201 2, at the “serious lapse” on part of the Enforcement Directorate (DEED) in probing allegations of money laundering against high profile members of the scam-hit Dares Cooperative Housing Society. It also summoned the DEED director personally to court to state the investigation agency stand against Dares members.
The court also reprimanded the CB for its tardy progress and warned against forcing it to set up a special team. The court sought three separate status reports from the CB on Dares investigations into the missing files case, the main case involving allegations against three former chief ministers, Shill Kumar Shined, Valparaiso Dukedoms and Ashes Chapin, in the Benjamin properties issue. A bench of Justices P B Major and R D Thank told CB ‘I If we are satisfied with the status report, we will grant you more time to investigate.
If it seems that you are inactive, then a special team would have to be formed to probe the matter”. The court also reprimanded CB for not arresting any of the accused despite having evidence and asked to function without any fear or favor. The DEED then launched the attachment proceedings of the flats based on latest charge sheet files by CB, after filing a case under Prevention of Money Laundering Act. Ethical Issues Related to Scam Dares Housing Society was supposed to be a six-storey building as per the existing rules.
But building ended up in a 31 -storey building. Out of 103 apartment, only three went to families connected to the Cargill conflict, and the remainder went to non retired Army chiefs, a former Naval chief, four other Army officers who went on to become generals and relatives of ministers and top Antes and Babes. CAGE observed that in its communications with the state and central governments to seek concessions, the Dares Co- operative Housing Society (ACHES) described its members as those “who have dedicated their lives for the motherland” and “heroes of Cargill war”.