October 31, 2015
The 125-year-old Cosmopolitan Club, hyped as a prestigious landmark of Covai, is now in news. But for a wrong reason. An FIR has been registered on the office bearers and the executive committee members of 2011 for allegedly forging land documents to construct a Guest House inside the club premises.
Based on a complaint filed by one of the members of the club R.V. Sudarshan, the office bearers and EC members who held office on 20.06.2011 had decided to construct a guest house within the club premises which is spread across an area of 4.027 acres. The office bearers then had unilaterally decided to go ahead with the construction without getting the consent of the General Body, which is mandatory, as per the rules of the Association of the Club, which is registered as Section 25 Company under The Companies Act 1956.
The office bearers had reportedly got a forged plan approved by the Local Planning Authority wherein they had fabricated a sub-divisional bifurcation of 60 cents in the north eastern side of the Club so as to cheat the government and evade the mandatory 10 per cent Open Space Reservation (OSR).
To put it in simple terms, the 4.027 acre of Club land has a single SF number: 1372. In order to evade the OSR (wherein the Club will be forced to dispense with 40 cents of land to the government) the office bearers had included SF 1366/2, which is of the public road behind the club, as club’s property. They had fabricated a map that showed that the club possessed only 60 cents and obtained approval, said a whistle blower.
Government documents like Survey sketch, Topo sketch and Survey Extracts were fabricated and approvals were sought in the LPA and Corporation for the construction of a guest house. According to inside sources, they had proposed to demolish the old chamber building without the approval of the Club’s General Body. The estimated cost of construction that was placed in the committee meeting went up from Rs 2 crore to Rs 7 crore and then to Rs 9 crore, “much higher than the prevailing value of construction”, the complaint stated.
The then office bearers acquired approval to construct ground plus three floors and a car park using the forged documents. Without open tender system or Earnest Money Deposit (EMD), they had also hastily handed over the project to Niketa Construction. The builders began constructing the basement without adhering to the parking slot norm on 22.10.2012.
An Independent Special Committee was formed to unearth the irregularities and the report submitted on 30.04.2014 indicated that the number of rooms in the guest house was increased from 12 to 22 which is 83 per cent deviation from the `approved’ plan. Several other violations were also revealed and when it was brought to the notice of the then Corporation Deputy Commissioner Sivarasu, the LPA was alerted and the construction was stalled.
“When the members asked to recover the money, the then office bearers stated that Rs 73 lakh was already spent. Suspicion arose when they were quoting close to Rs 9 crore for a project when the funds available amounted to only Rs 3.5 crore”, a member on conditions of anonymity told The Covai Post.
The then office bearers and executive committee members comprised of V. Rajendran, President and Managing Director of VR Foundaries; Cardiologist Dr. J.K. Periaswamy, Vice-President; Vidyasagar Ramdass, Secretary, and Partner of Mahendra Pumps; G.D. Gopalakrishnan, Joint Secretary, and owner of Dorai’s Theatre, Pollachi; R. Mahendran, Treasurer, and Director of Palani Andavar Mills, Udumalpet.
The directors during the period include C. Selvaraj, owner of Video Spectrum; Shankar Manivannan, Agrarian; V. Muralidharan, Director, Ram Oxygen; J. Sathish, Proprietor, J. Engineering; J. Ravi, MD of Visual Education Aids; B. Srinivasan, Partner, Bharathan Timbers, and D. Krishnaraj, industrialist.
G.D. Gopalkrishnan is at present the Joint Secretary of the Club and would hold office for the next three years. J. Ravi was also elected as Treasurer in the election that was held in September 2015.
An FIR has been registered by the City Crime Branch on all the 12 executive committee members under IPC sections 465, 466, 468 and 471.
The Covai Post is in possession of the FIR copy, the fake documents and the committee reports that have indicted the then office bearers.