M A I N   N E W S

Former ministers not vacating houses, SC told
S.S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, November 14
The Union Urban Development Ministry has taken a tough stand in the Supreme Court on VIPs occupying government bungalows illegally in the capital, including by Bihar Governor Buta Singh, several former ministers in the NDA government, Congress, CPM, Akali Dal and Samajwadi Party leaders, saying despite notices, they had not taken steps to vacate the ministerial bungalows.

Filing a detailed affidavit today in the apex court, which earlier had asked the government to “throw away” all illegal occupants, the ministry said Bihar Governor “continued to retain” a type-VIII bungalow even after allotment was cancelled on March 6, 2004.

“As per decision of the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs on November 8, 1988, the Governors are not entitled to retain government accommodation at Delhi. Eviction order (in his case) was passed on July 2, 2004,” the annexure on action taken report filed with the affidavit said. It further said that the ministry had again written to Buta Singh on August 8 last to vacate the bungalow.

Regarding Congress party retaining three bungalows at 5-Raisina Road, 26 Akbar Road and 109 Chankyapuri allotted in the name of their General Secretaries more than two decades ago, the ministry said the party was not “entitled to retain the government accommodation over prescribed limit.”

On CPM leader Harkishan Singh Surjeet and SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav occupying 8-Teen Murti Lane and 2-Krishnan Menon Marg houses, respectively, the ministry said while the former was not entitled to stay there after demitting the office of party’s General Secretary as it was allotted to him in that capacity, the latter did not vacate the house even after becoming the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. “Eviction case has been initiated against Mulayam Singh,” it said.

The annexure furnishing details about Jaswant Singh, the Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, said though he was entitled to a type-VIII bungalow, yet he had been occupying two houses at No 15 and 16 Teen Murti Lane. Since he had not evicted the additional accommodation of 16-Teen Murti Lane, action has been initiated in his case.

Besides, Delhi unit of the BJP and Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee had been occupying 4-Pant Marg and 2-Talktora Road bungalows, respectively, and eviction proceedings were under process against them, the ministry said. Among the 36 leaders of various parties, who had been at one time or the other ministers, mostly in the previous NDA government and continued to occupy houses of a bigger size than their entitlement, it said some of them including Akali Dal leader and MP Sukhbir Singh Badal had twice “declined” to accept the type-VI bungalow for which he was entitled to and continued to posses a ministerial bungalow.

Other prominent political leaders possessing bungalows of bigger size than their entitlement include: Omer Abdullah (National Conference) George Fernandes, Nitish Kumar, Sharad Yadav (JDU), Jyotiraditya Scindia, A.B.A. Ghani Khan Chaudhary and Jagdish Tytler (Cong), M.M. Joshi, Yashwant Sinha, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Arun Jaitley, Vinod Khanna, M Venkaiah Naidu, Maneka Gandhi (BJP), Amar Singh (SP), Yarran Naidu (Telgu Desam Party) and noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani.

In these cases, the allotments of the bigger bungalow had been cancelled and they had been asked to move to the lower grade houses they were entitled to as MPs, the ministry said adding that 80 houses were available for allotment to members both in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha pools if these leaders move to the entitled accommodation, while at least 18 UPA ministers were still staying in hotels for lack of suitable houses.


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