Torturous road to justice against corrupt

This is really fast ” said Mr Pandit ( name changed ) one of the resident owners. He was commenting on my impatience with the speed of prosecution. I have currently taken up a big battle to unmask massive corruption in my residential society. Distt Deputy Registrar ( DDR) and Deputy Registrar of society Pune City for societies are exchanging letters to bring the corrupt to the book. He further elaborated – ”   The first step here should be to totally insulate them; take away their right to spend our hard earned money.  “.   I had been following up with Registrar of societies ( RoS )  for last 3 months and now the formal investigation on grounds of financial crime is about to begin. The office bearers in  our  society office had illegally done spending of  our maintenance fund without General body approval. Read the original story here

Why should  this  concern all of us ?

We all probably live in or will be living in residential societies where corruption /misappropriation/ can occur. A typical residential society of 400 apartments can have a fund of 1 crore+. The so called volunteers to selflessly serve the society can have their morals taking long vacation when they smell so much money. This may lead to huge leakage of your cash and dilapidated state of your residential society.  Either you can accept that corruption  citing various reasons ( from lack of time, awareness, intent or chalta hai etc) or will have an urge to fight this disease. Its when you decide to fight, will need to know how to proceed. The path to justice is long and torturous. The officers who tried to prosecute Laloo Yadav spent 17 yrs to send the scoundrel to jail.  You may need to be mentally prepared to fight for months, if not years.  I am already in my 4th month 🙂

How often is this kind of fight done ?

Very rarely.  99.9% of such cases of corruption either go unnoticed or people forget about it. Often they are too lazy to even confront the corrupt. The govt procedures of addressing these crimes is too slow and tests your patience and tenacity to extremes.

Why people do not raise voices ?

Its excruciating to fight against corrupt both at lower and higher levels.    For example, if some scoundrel makes a backdoor entry into society office position, its very tedious to throw the him out. They have society funds to hire legal advisors, crook accountants and 5 to 6 partners in crime. You may have to initially hack it all relentlessly

Why is it difficult to throw scoundrels out ?

Most of the people in societies either are not aware about implications of corruption or take it as a part of their ordinary lives. They seldom rise against the corrupt. most believe, its somebody else’s job to fight corruption. Those who rise against corruption have to fight a machinery ( Administration, Sympathisers of corrupt, security employed and inertia of people ).  The cases of illegal committees ( Folks who get into office without getting elected ) of society offices are not dislodged by Registrars any more. One has to go to Co Operative court to challenge that. Going to court means hiring a co operative lawyer and paying his fee. This is enough to give an ordinary citizen jitters. While the crusader has to pay legal charges from her own pocket, the scoundrels have war chest of maintenance fund at their disposal which they utilize to engage legal advisor, bribe civic officials, forge documents with help of corrupt chartered accountants and circulate false justification using society resources.

Alternate method of throwing  illicit and corrupt committee out is by calling an Extra ordinary general meeting ( EOGM)expressing no confidence against the dishonest and corrupt.

Why  EOGM method  is a difficult thing ?

Calling an EOGM for no confidence requires written signature of 33 % of members  (  As a norm only  less than 25% of resident owners attend society meetings ). This means if you have 100 members in society and you want to throw the corrupt out , while you need 33 signatures, you can only reach out only 25 people. Often out of the 25 active members 10 to 12 may already  be huddled in crime. Further, to boot the corrupt out, you need 2/3rd people voting them out.  This means in a society of 100 apartments, you need 67 people voting out . Or if its permissible 2/3rd of attending members. This means if 25 attend the meeting you need 17 people to vote the corrupt out. If the committee comprises 10 members,  mathematically , it may never happen. Its a scenario like no matter how much you hate Congress and its crimes you cant throw it out for 5 yrs because they manage the floor using Mayas, Mulayams, Karunanidhis and Sharad Pawars.

What is the way out ?

Society is like a cell of democracy and none of the provisions work unless there is large participation from all the owners. With 25% or less voting and participation, crooks invariably win . We, thus have the state of society like that of the nation where the ugliest crooks float to the top. Its important that there is large voting turn out ( >75% ) to select people . Also it must be ensured that only the members who are elected through voting become the office bearers. There needs to be an internal lokpal in all societies with power to suspend Chairmen/President/ Secretary/ Treasurer if there are sufficient grounds for dishonesty , corruption or procedural impropriety.

This is what I have done in my society till date in my fight against corruption :

Its been 3.5 months now since I first started it all.  This is how the pieces on chessboard look like

  1. The accused  still disgrace the office . Few  or many steps away from check mate ( I do not know)
  2. The District Deputy Registrar has requested an  eight point response ( In hard core Marathi even difficult for Marathi professor to understand ) for detailed inquiry to  proceed. This  moved some of my pieces into central square
  3.  The evidences which justify detailed inquiry are ready with me.
  4. The thick skinned refuse to vacate the office. In professional chess, no player waits for the check mate. They resign when they have some irrecoverable disadvantage like a major piece loss or a vulnerability.  However in real life, the shameless till they are driven out with force cling on. Fools die hard, crooks die harder
  5. A lot of paper crimes, dishonesty has been perpetrated example : showing an audit report on a date it didn’t exist.  Falsifying the minutes of meeting of AGM, misusing office staff for personal service, etc. When people who are cheats get caught and are incriminated, they try to be even bigger cheats.
  6. As per Maharashtra Co op act, 15 clear days before AGM, the committee needs to circulate audited books of accounts to the members. The crooks in my society sent unaudited balance sheet and asked for approval for audited report which no one had seen. In layman’s term its like taking an approval of financial crimes without even you knowing that crime has happened
  7.  The counter move from those seeking justice has been to submit a written  request from over 30 residents to Dy Registrar that AGM held was illegal.
  8. Momentum often works against the weak.  Approx 70% of people voting in AGM have given in writing that they  want the corrupt to be dismissed.
  9. The partners in crime have gone into a huddle trying to delay the incrimination. Some stooges croak in between on trivial issues to  divert attention from the main issue of corruption
  10. The society and its residents suffer as the apartments get the least resale and rental values in its area.
  11.  The wheel of justice though slow,  is moving in a right direction to ensure that guilty gets exemplary punishment.

If however you persist with right process there is always hope for justice : Watch Shawshank Redemption  to understand it 🙂

Ray of hope

Keep soldiering

Asaram and enjoying general body pleasures without consent or approval

The girl is suffering from a chronic mental state which draws her close to the men ” farted out the great Ram Jethmalani trying to defend his client Asaram. Read the defense

Asaram, the revered Guru fell from grace and is in jail now for raping a girl. It has come out that he raped not only one complainant but myriad of others too.

Lets look at this perspective from Asaram’s angle and analyze this incident with respect to other crimes people in certain honorable positions do . ( Previous posts on fraud accounting by splitting expenses)

Image

  1.  Enjoying faith and respect out of sainthood :  Asaram  enjoys a faith and following because of his beard, long hair, sanskrit mantra he chants.  Masses can hear those mantras but can barely understand them . There are some  souls around us who grow long hair, repeat how great and holi company they work in. They chant Baaai laaaa..j which you have never read or will never have time to read.  Beware of these wolves around. In India, we are conditioned to respect those who look like sadhus but respect should be given on behaviour. Read this
  2.  Stooges and chants on Acts of good faith : Asaram has greed, lust and arrogance because of his large following. There are and were his stooges who treat/ treated him like god’s incarnation. They feel its their Dharma to defend all his Kaam + Karma. The group around Asaram believed, the charges against him were false, baseless, of malafide intent. The charges were driven by a hidden agenda of the girl because the girl wanted to do something illegal and unauthorized or become famous. At one point Asaram claimed he cant rape because he cant have erections ( The potency test got the snake out of the hole ).  Some real wise men told the girl that going open with charges against Asaram will have ” HUGE REPERCUSSIONS “, the girl will be destroyed. You will have similar people in your society who are equivalent. These when talked about the misconduct of criminals will say , “We trust him “,  “Reporting this will have repercussions” and finally without getting the facts declare that – “X has done an act of good faith, he is a jolly good fellow “. One person said, its irregularity but not criminality.

This Act of good faith is what amuses me most and I want to discuss this deeper in this article.  Advocate Jethmalani is trying to build a theory that the girl was in a great need to get Bapu’s proximity.  Bapu was always benevolent , he figured out this particular girl and many others who needed his bodily blessings. He wanted to do Uddhar for the girl. Bapu also believed that he didnt need the consent of general body of the girl( Or even her general mind) to go ahead with the act.  Bapu was convinced that once he is done with his act, he will be able to justify the little cost and benefits of rape to the girl for approval . She will keep quiet. In fact many girls have kept a total quiet.  The gratuitous act done by Bapu in his opinion and opinion of his stooges has cured the hapless girls of all the biggest problem they were having in their lives.

We now know where the great Bapu has landed up with his great assumptions, convictions and where the stooges defending will end up.

Now I show you the excerpt of justification given in  writing to the Deputy Registrar of societies , Pune , by the Chairman of my society. This was in response to the complaint I submitted for spending 2.75 lakhs on CCTV where we gave an approval of 75K only.

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Now, put the General body of my society in place of that girl. The girl probably gave consent to let the Bapu put his fingers on her head. What Bapu with his fingers did, is now a matter of criminal investigation. What  consent girl gave and what Bapu  does have a difference of 4x and above.  There is little to guess whether it was benign to girl or gratuitous to his great HOLI libido.  The well wishers of Bapu are screaming hell on the girl who was raped.  The dharmadhikaris are  shouting, this will damage the fabric of sainthood. Somebody just said that its hidden agenda of Congress to malign the great Swamis. There are some monkeys who are jumping up and down not on the lecherous act of Bapu but on unsubstantiated  nymphomania of the girl . There are stooges who are attacking the police officers who are fighting to prosecute the rapist Bapu.

I have expereinced this kind of babagiri in very close proximity.  Just like Bapu’s sympathizers some sympathizers are asking me why I am raising these issues of corruption in my society now?

There is a time for everything.  Its important for people to understand facts, take sides  and understand the wolverines

Splitting the expenses and fraud accounting

2 weeks ago, I wrote a post on how people with questionable values lead  to collapse of propriety in a housing society. How it affects the citizen mindset in the whole country.

I had 2 options to deal with this ugly situation :

1. Crib at the errant and ugly behavior of office holders. // Easy and practiced by many.

2. Do some concrete action to restore propriety and my own faith in the system. // Its was as difficult or as instinctive to me as confronting a drunk molester in a running bus. The  story of confronting molester is here

The majority in my society exercised option 1.

The option 2, I exercised put me up fighting against a group of people ensconced and fortified on a hill ( Just like Kargil intruders ). They have a war chest of society resources (  Maintenance money worth lakhs, legal advisors, security, accountants etc)  to harass me.

As always, its unnerving for most individual crusaders to fight the alligators in pond.  A rational man is advised by friends to give up under provocations.

Look at one suggestion from a well wisher on facebook :

Image

I accepted the suggestion to be an Aam aadmi , An aam aadami , today is frustrated with the corruption and willing to take to streets.  Many of the aam aadamis may fail, bleed during the trsyst  but their is light at the end of tunnel.  There are some glorious instances where a single guy brought down an entire army of crooks by following the right path of truth example  J . B Patel of Panchwati society,  Andheri Bombay :http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2012-10-15/news/34473028_1_society-office-bearers-jayant-patel

Even without knowing his inspiring story, I  had gone ahead on the confrontational path.  The following is what I did.

  1.  Filed a complaint with Dy Registrar of society, Pune. Explained how there is a possibility of serious SCAM and immediate inquiry should begin . The inquiry should begin with sacking of office holders.
  2.  Sent a copy to Joint Registrar of Society. He manages Dy Registrar.
  3. Sent an email to CM office of Maharashtra . He forwarded the case to Secretary of state ( Co operatives)
  4. Demanded from office holders full life cycle documents of questionable transactions and a detailed list of bank transactions.
  5. Engaged a top ranking CA to investigate all documents.

Why I did this ?

Sometimes, its easy for accused to bribe/influence/threaten a small officer. Its however, beyond their capacity to buy 3 levels of high officials in the system. I tightened accountability at three levels to prevent this. Further, demanding and getting full lifecycle documents upto the current date leaves very little to accused to manipulate the documents at later stage.

Fraud

What were the results ?

The Ad Hoc committee went vengeful. It complained not against me but against my little startup.

  • Electricity Deptt : Inspectors came, searched my startup, searched my entire home and said, I just need to readjust the tarriff to commercial rate.
  • Corporation license Deptt : Inspector came and told me to get a license to operate business in municipal area. He asked me the intent of why society secretary did a written complaint. I showed him the cases they are embroiled and how even the CM office has acknowledged the complaint. He understood and said, we wont harass you at all.  Apply for a license, it just costs Rs 1000/= he said and we will fully co-operate with you. I smiled and said, I will do it.
  • Police Deptt : Local chowki summoned me to police station. I went with my wife to the police station. I was asked about illegality of my startup in residential area. I showed them Maharashtra IT act of 2010 which allows IT companies to work from residential areas. They didnt ask me any further. Read the blog on how IT companies can legally operate from residential complexes : http://www.wicfy.com/blog/working-from-apartment-is-legal-for-it-companies-startups/
  • Society Security    The Secretary  told the security to harass the employees of startup by. Not letting them park their bikes in authorized parking area.Sometimes they even prevented their bikes from entering the society. They made them to sign register everytime they came in an out of society. 

Thus, the accused were exhausted of their arsenal. The amount of harassment was coming to an end. My business just emerged stronger from all these harassment. The employees rallied around me in these tough situation because I kept everything transparent.  The values I hold, the fight I take and the possible consequences.

Now comes the funniest part.  When, the accused had little to defend themselves, they resorted to dirtiest tricks which crooks in  Govt or Corporate world resort to i.e Splitting of expenses.

Please see the image of response given to me by the Society secretary.

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Also, the accused, thinking the residents to be Dumb and weird, appointed their sympathizers to do an investigation and award them a clean chit. Recall how Gadkari had got himself a clean chit by  a person he appointed to investigate his own crimes ?

This also reminded me of my days in central govt.  Procurement in such large organization happens either centrally or locally. There is huge amount of money made by some people at central level but its more interesting at local level

At local levels for any transaction above Rs 5000/= needs a CLPC approval ( Central logistics purchase committee ). This CLPC comprises 3 independent officers and give approvals for any purchase above limit. Also they examine all the quotations.

Now if everything  goes through CLPC How do people at local levels misappropriate public money ?

Ans: Splitting of expenses. Any thing which is to be bought for 9900/= is split in two purchases of 4950/= each and can be bought with or without quotations.  At one stage I saw that there were 350 transactions, all between 4900 and 4999/=. This is how  people with corrupt intent try to loot public money.

I realized that people do not bring in good things of their experience in large systems to the society but ugly , dirty and corrupt practices are rapidly brought in . Even  in such small theater as housing society, this disease of splitting of expenses is brought in. Though the annual budget is as low as 40 lakhs.

Whats the way to rein in such ugly practice?

I consulted the Registrar and he suggested requesting a govt audit of all books of accounts and processes under section 89 of Mah CHS act. This independent inquiry by a govt auditor may reveal a lot more irregularity and doesnt cost much.  For a society its Rs 37/member/year of audit requested.  So for my society of 200 members, it would cost me Rs 7400/= approx.

We had seen creative accounting done by Ramalingam Raju ( Satyam Fame ) and how the reputed CA Pricewater house Coopers was party to crime of splitting salary expenses of ghost employees .  Well that was a 1000 crore + scam and this is worth a few lakhs.  The efforts to expose and prove the crime is more challenging till the accused are thrown out of office.

What will you do if you see such financial misconduct in your society ?

Are you aware that corruption is not just in govt, its a cancer which eats housing societies as well ?

How can you establish a clean system in your society ?

Please do share your experiences of taking the accused head on.

5 reasons why Ajit Gulabchand and not Lavasa should be screwed

I was glad to see the front page news that MH govt is filing criminal case against directors of Lavasa. There are gluts who are crying foul and Ajit Gulab chand screaming that he is being victimised. I guess there are 5 reasons he should be screwed .

  • Complacence : Having got the Worli seabridge , he thought HCC has cracked the politco nexus code and they can get away with anything // Read permits, regulations, laws of land
  • Ethic Deficit :  The township has been made cajoling the villagers and locals to sell of their land many times forcing them under the banner of big politicos
  • Disregard for environment : Notwithstanding tall claims about it being a sustainable city, you can see the rampant violation almost everywhere. The basic tenet – ” No construction on hills and hill slopes” has been massacred
  • Greed : The greed to extract more than lawful is what does most businessmen in. Speakasia, Anil Ambani, Radia are examples. Gulab babu wanted to take more juice out of  this project than actually coming and has got screwed.
  • Immorality : This is the biggest one. He slept with Sharad Pawar, probably the Crookest of all crooks , gave him a good stake in the Lavasa corporation, faked records to show that he doesnt hold any equity in Lavasa later and allows him to hold stocks through proxy..
Why we should not screw Lavasa?
It has a true potential to become a really beautiful hill station. The excesses on environment can be reversed to a large extent. It gives a good option to Pune and Bombay citizens besides over leeched Khandala and Matheran.
Any thoughts ???/
PS: I had visited Lavasa in last week of May this year. It SUCKED big time. Hotel rents above 5300/day and nothing available, the lake had dried up in many places, the food options were most putrid and water sports nothing to talk about.. Please avoid this hyped city for atleast next 3 years.

Recesssion की जाती किरणें –

Recesssion की जाती किरणें

कहती है – तुम भूल न जाना

 किस तरह से जाते थे job

कितना मुश्किल था पैसे कमाना

गायब थे जब tissue papers

प्रिंट आउट था अपराध तुम्हारा

ओझल थी पार्टियाँ यार की

 Job bachaana  था Udhyesh हमारा

 

Mall  हुऐ थे दिल से दूर

घर का सपना था चूर चूर

 Ragadte थे Fati जीन्स

भय से ओझल था आंखो का नूर

हुयी आज पार्टियाँ बहाल

Salary कट से मिला निजात

 Builder खड़े है जाल निकाल

 फिर karengay तुम्हें यह Mall हलाल

 

 पैसा अब भी पसीने से  hee आयेगा

 उसको न तुम व्यर्थ gawaana

 जाती हुयी recession की किरण

कहती है फिर Milengey, दोस्त, भूल न जाना

– पुरो

Some addition by one reader

Is baar ki mulakat ko sabak banana…

 

Apni jadon ko itna majboot banana

 

ke phir kabhi mere aane ka 

Na  Afsos pade manana… J

 

Cultural Assault on Pune’s Habitat

   

I am waiting for this action to begin
I am waiting for this action to begin

 

  I strongly admire the campaign launched by local manoos in putting Marathi signboards and ensuring that every thing in the state should have native names and connotations. I am surprised how they missed out on the great assault Builder , promoter community is inflicting on the culture of city of Pune and around . I wish they notice the names of societies and housing projects which are launched in Wakad, Aundh, Hadapsar etc.

  1. Regalia
  2. Edenn Garden
  3. Megapolis
  4. Capprichio
  5. Megapolis
  6. Blue Ridge
  7. Apostrophe
  8. Blue dale
  9. Rose land and Blah Blah…..

Why cant they be named

  1. Rajkeeya wada
  2. Manu Watika
  3. Bhavya wada
  4. Lalchi ghar
  5. Maha gaothan
  6. Neel pahadi 
  7. Ardhviram vada
  8. Gulab Peth …etc..

They need to collect all their resources and start blackening , boards of these societies and send warning to these builders and their residents to either localize their names as shown above or pack their bags. Enough is enough. We cant let the rich culture of this great city be desecrated by this builder community.. After all what are the terms caprice ,Regal, Mont Vert supposed to mean to a manoos..

I strongly suggest a campaign to eradicate these names from the landmarks of this Punya nagari. This probably will gain them more headlines on TV channels and also galvanize more followers in his fold.. This will mean bigger vote bank.Also , this can generate a lot of revenue to the state as every builder has to re register their society name. Local advocates will make more money in processing this legal process. Local signboard painters will get a lot of employment .. All their brochures need to be printed in local language.. This will give lot of native writers a chance to write flashy campaigns.  Further when investors come to invest , they wont be able to understand any name, specification, brochure etc and they would need translators. Imagine how many translators we would need and millions on jobs which can be generated .There is so much to do .. to reconstruct these cities ..we cant afford to get tired.. The show must go on.. Let us open this front too..

10 steps before Buying/ Renting House in Pune

With the recent influx of IT professionals in the Pune city and increase in rentals ,there has been an increase in inclination among professionals to buy residential apartments and houses. The quest for housing is riddled with capricious builders who try to extract unreasonable amount of money from unsuspecting home buyers. a 10 point check lists before settling for a builder or project would prevent grave shock post buying.

  1. Look for NEC (Non Encumbrance Certificate) for the land first. Many small builders start construction to encash boom with a hope that they will get more land subsequently. Later they are stuck in legal battles. Mont Vert in Wakad is one example of this.
  2. Check if proper plan exists for the entire plot. Organised builders have 3D realistic models . A good way to cheat customers is to show plan of society and show everything outside it in green. This may not be reality. Jaypee Greens in Noida is one example.
  3. Check if the builder has a website which is live. If the builder is serious , the website will mostlikely exist. Recently I got a proposal from a builder in an email. When I checked the company website, I found that the site was fraud and it was just a template website which was yet to be developed.
  4. Check if the plot is square. A square plot with a central space is key to good housing . Do not invest in properties where they have 4 or more buildings in line. these are bad plots. Example Park Street, Park wayz, Capprichio in Wakad.
  5. Do not ever buy in place which is very low lying. The rain months in Pune are 5 long ones. The rivers swell and water collects in low lying areas. If you buy in those plots the chances of flooding are high. Example , Kapil Malhar on Baner Road
  6. Look for proximity to main road and availability of Public transport. Most societies are made in obscure plots with upto 1 km earthen or non existing roads. Do not ever buy that. Even a 0.5km drive in rains can bring tears to eyes after the roads are washed off.
  7. Check for avaialbility of municipal water supply. Normally builders promise that it will be there but considering the red tape, if its not already there inthe locality it may take years to come.
  8. The builders jack up sq feet rates every month. Today they are quoting between Rs 2200 to 3800 . A thumb rule to calculate the value of a property is to compute total value of 20 to 25 yrs of rent for a similar property in same area. Example a 1200 sq feet flat which fetches a a rent of 10000/month has annual rent of 1,20,000 . Its intrinsic values is between 24 lacs to 30 lacs. Rent is a surer indicator of demand for housing. Use this to evaluate the merit of this deal.
  9. Look for market nearby. Sometimes we are mesmerised by the models and views of flat but it when you start living in you gete a shock. Even buying a standard bread will need you to drive 8kms. Example in Wakad area you can only find local breads , no Modern, Britannia or Harvest.
  10. Security is a prime concern in Wakad area. The good looking societies are very vulnerable to thefts and I have seen 3 house break ins in last 1 month of stay in a row house society in Pune. Check for presence of street lights, boundary wall height, barbed wire etc.. Avoid any society which has slums near by. Given the political color , the slums never disappear and are a threat to safety.

These are preliminary considerations , Once you do these , comes the evaluation of construction quality . I will write more on this in my next blog