HDB inspection officer jailed 25 days over tip-offs on units

·Senior Reporter
·2-min read
The Singapore State Courts. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)
The Singapore State Courts. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — A Housing and Development Board (HDB) officer who was supposed to crack down on illegally sublet units instead gave tip-offs to a friend, a court heard.

At the State Courts on Monday (30 August), Kalayarasan Karuppaya, 55, who was with the lease and tenancy enforcement section of HDB's operations department, was jailed for 25 days after he pleaded guilty to two charges under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

Kalayarasan's job involved conducting investigations into subletting and occupancy-related infringements in HDB estates, the court heard.

He would conduct “surprise” inspections with at least one other investigation officer at HDB units which have been flagged out by the police and members of the public.

In 2017, Kalayarasan conducted a spot check at an HDB unit where Damandeep Singh, a 22-year-old Indian national, was staying in. The men later became friends and would chat over the phone.

Damandeep later moved to another unit, which was overcrowded. HDB received complaints from the public and a surprise inspection was planned for 8 May 2019.

Kalayarasan tipped his friend off about the spot check and the illegal subtenants moved out of the unit prior to the inspection.

But in August and September that year, the police found the unit to be overcrowded during two spot checks and referred the case to HDB.

Another spot check was scheduled on 10 September but Kayalarasan again told his friend about it.

The landlord terminated Damandeep's tenancy after being told about the police referral.

In January last year, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau of Singapore received information about Kalayarasan's tip-offs to Damandeep and investigated them. The HDB officer was suspended shortly after.

Damandeep's case is pending before the courts.

For each of his charges under the OSA, Kalayarasan could have been jailed for up to two years and also fined up to $2,000.

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