Delhi Andrews Ganj Land Scam
In the HUDCO Scam Series by Alborz Azar, he reveals land scams over the last twenty-five years that will go down as mind-boggling in India’s history. The Great Land Grab involves the transfer of agriculture between urban land and corporate giants, all fighting to secure power over the most precious lands in India. In this book, Andrews Ganj Land is in the heart of New Delhi.
According to The Economic Times, “The Supreme Court directed the Centre to specify the action it was taking on the recommendations of Central Vigilance Commission against the persons allegedly involved in Rs 14,500 crore HUDCO loan scam.” In USD, this is 2730 million.
In Webster’s Dictionary, the word scam literally means to deceive someone in fraud. In this case, one of the persons harmed in the scam was Pavan Sachdeva. The initial scheme drove MS Shoes to incredible legal proceedings that cost Pavan twenty-five years fighting to get the monies MS Shoes paid to HUDCO due to various misrepresentations and concealing material facts. But still, no money was received while waiting for a decision by the Supreme Court because of the dispute between the government and HUDCO.
The journey taught Pavan how to unveil bureaucracy, a political system that deals in underhanded dishonest games. In his years as a lawyer, Pavan stated he felt that the legal system is another gray area that must be overhauled to ensure justice happens on time; one set of laws where everyone is held accountable in the same way.
The media has brought light to many situations where, right or wrong, someone was condemned just to pursue a story. In their propaganda, they like to use the word scam. The word most often fills coffers by doing something underhanded, instead of following legal pathways. However, the current system operates by rationalizing personal favors as righteous. Then, as the scam gets exposed to the public, innocent people take the fall.
India has no shortage of scams, including financial scams, land scams, drug scams, and many other topics. In the Scam Series authored by Alborz Azar, he reveals exactly fifteen, because those are the only ones that can be revealed to the public at this time.
In Alborz’s research for a scam, he concluded that HUDCO and the Ministry of Urban Development scammed MS Shoes. Alborz learned how perseverance shows the righteousness a man was CMD of MS Shoes, Pavan Sachdeva, but it has taken a toll on his life and the people he seeks to inspire.
As Pavan found the newly proposed information appealing, he set out on a lifelong journey to regain monies invested with HUDCO, who wrongly and illegally kept the investment. However, he never expected the mission to take over twenty-five years. The HUDCO Scam Series takes the reader on a journey written to expose the illegal retention of monies belonging to MS Shoes’ more than 51000 shareholders spread across India. It exposes the activities of HUDCO who sought to use Pavan Sachdeva as their fall guy.
The present book, Delhi Andrews Ganj Scam, explains how the government joined with HUDCO, a public limited company owned by the central government in India, who ripped off the shareholders of MS Shoes to the amount of Rs. 70 Crores (USD 22 million). The scam started in approximately 1990-1991 when HUDCO constructed the buildings at Andrews Ganj without any approval of local bodies and gave the site to MS Shoes in 1994.
Scam has become synonymous everywhere in India, as most criminals have ripped off the economy of the country; where it has been exposed to the public. The Jeep scandal in 1948 was the first in newly independent India. In the same period, the Andrews Ganj Land Scam started and continues to cause loss to the exchequer of Rs 5000 Crores (USD 657 million) as the present value of the land is approximate as per the present circle rate.
From 1950 to 1985 the land remained with the Pinjrapole Society @ Rs.25000/= (USD 300) per year leased by the Congress Government over the last ten years. The Supreme Court came to the rescue by undoing the scam and directing the Society to vacate on 30th May 1985. Thereafter, again, the Congress Government committed a scam by allotting the land to Members of Parliament and officers of the Ministry of Urban Development; in just eight days this part of land @ Rs.475 per square yards i.e., Rs. 24 lakhs increased per acre to USD 20 million. Again, the Supreme Court came to the rescue and undid the scam in the year 1989 by directing them to vacate the land, then allotted to nine societies, further directing the government to return the monies with 12% interest.
A scam occurred again in 1989 when HUDCO was given this precious land in mid-south Delhi, measuring about 71 acres, at a meagre price of Re1/=per acre (in US currency 6 cents per acre) for a 32-year lease on certain terms. On 27th March 1992, certain terms were not acceptable to HUDCO and were amended on 28th December 1992, which was further amended on 19th March 1996 for a 99-year lease at the same rate by the government.
These terms were then once again amended on 15th October 1996, which were finally accepted by HUDCO. In the deal, lease fees were paid in 1996 and finally, the 99-year lease was executed in favor of HUDCO on 4th July 1997. All dealings were completed without the approval of the Cabinet, and without following General Finance Rules of the Finance Ministry. The magnitude of this scandal has gone scot-free, which raises the question about reasonability and transparency of the government in different years.
HUDCO started construction with no approvals of the local bodies with full knowledge of the government in 1989 and completed it by the end of 1991 due to the urgency of the Afro Asian Games. The building plans and excavation were all done with no approvals of layout or regularization of land use, etc. Some of these projects included 12 blocks comprising 40 units, with each block having a restaurant and shops in each block and an underground parking lot constructed by HUDCO.
In 1994-1995 the illegal construction was concealed and without title of the lease in favor of HUDCO. The amounts received were Rs. 40 Crores (USD 12.5 million) for nine blocks having 363 rooms, 9 restaurants, 25 shops for Rs. 100 crores (USD 31 million). At the same time, 3 acres that were part of the Andrews Ganj land to construct the five-star hotel along with car parking were allotted by HUDCO to MS Shoes for Rs.77 crores (USD 24 million), for which Rs. 29 Crore (USD 9 million) were received in 1994-1995 by HUDCO, which totals to Rs. 69 Crores (USD 22 million).
HUDCO also allotted part of this land to Ansal, another bidder, to construct a shopping mall along with part of the parking lot. HUDCO extended interest-free installments at various times to Ansal, causing a Rs. 10 Crores (USD 3 million) loss to Exchequer as the parking lot and guest houses that were built were illegal. The MS Shoes amounts were forfeited discriminatorily, then the same five-star hotel land was allotted to Leela Hotels who could not get the building plans sanctioned because of illegal construction and for want of approval of the revised layout plan of the area. Leela Hotels was eventually refunded the entire amount paid finally by the Supreme Court with 18% interest compounded on the award amount @15% p.a.
MS Shoes has been fighting the battle in the Supreme Court since 2017, although litigation started in 1997. In 2019, the court wanted to bring quietus and directed the government to find a solution so that the properties can realize their market value. As usual, the government and HUDCO delayed the litigation. The government withstanding, the affidavit stated that HUDCO’s other properties be sold to pay to MS Shoes. However, HUDCO stated they are agents of the government concerning this land and the government is liable to pay to MS Shoes.
The battle was an uphill climb for Pavan, as Alborz realized. Nevertheless, MS Shoes remained the victim because of disputes between the government and HUDCO. The Supreme Court still must overturn the scam and order HUDCO to refund the monies paid by MS Shoes with interest. HUDCO has enjoyed the possession of the properties since 1995, HUDCO has earned interest on 70 crores (USD 22 million) by loaning money to private lenders since 1996 @ 14% to 18% compounded monthly, and they are also the beneficiary of appreciation of the value of the properties from Rs.177 crores (USD 55 million) to Rs. 5000 Crores (USD 657 million). HUDCO has benefited from the monies received by MS Shoes by fraudulently concealing material facts that were very well known to the government.
Books by Alborz Azar
In Alborz Azarz’s first government corruption series he exposes some major land scams by the Indian Government and Hudco. The inspiration came from an interesting story about Pavan Sachdeva he found online. Pavan is a resident in India, who was struggling through court cases for almost twenty-five years, trying to prove his innocence. Alborz feels strongly about his quest exposing the scams and will continue to provide accurate information, so the reader can make an educated opinion of the subjects.