Plea for CBI probe into workers’ fund

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the Centre and the city government to respond to petition seeking CBI probe into alleged misappropriation in the ₹3,200-crore cess fund meant for migrant and construction workers in the Capital.

A Bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar also issued notice to the Delhi Building and Other Construction Workers (DBOCW) Welfare Board on the petition by NGO – PT Deendayal Upadhyay Smriti Sansthan. The High Court posted the case for further hearing on July 2.

‘Rampant corruption’

Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for the NGO, said some incriminating documents showed the alleged rampant corruption by the Delhi government and the welfare board and misutilisation of the ₹3,200-crore Delhi Building Cess fund by fraudulently giving benefits to non construction workers such as auto drivers, factory workers, tailors and hawkers.

The NGO said each State has its own ‘cess fund’ which is collected for the owners/employers of building and other construction works under the Building and Other Construction Workers 9RE & CS) Act, by collecting one per cent on the cost incurred on the project. Delhi cess fund has collected around ₹3,200 crore, which was created exclusively for the benefit of registered construction workers.

The plea said that during the COVID-19 lockdown, it was announced by the Delhi government that ₹5,000 per month will be transferred to all the registered construction workers. However, when the organisation’s volunteers enquired, the workers revealed that none of them have received any amount from the government, the petition said.

The plea said that enquiry regarding verification of beneficiaries found that the “prima facie offences of IPC have been committed by the beneficiaries by obtaining fake/ bogus construction workers certificate”.

The plea alleged that “there is a very 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&% of the benefit amount”.

The court, taking note of the plea, has impleaded the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) of Delhi government as party in the case.

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