Controversy over illegally occupied bungalow by LS Speaker deepens
Despite the Cabinet deciding on a complete ban on conversion of government bungalows to memorial sites, the 6, KM Marg bungalow houses the Babu Jagjivan Ram memorial, including a statue of the same person. The Delhi Municipal Corporation has even put up a board on that site announcing its name
After the Directorate of Estates gave out the details about the Rs2 crore bill served to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar for defaulting on rent for the unauthorised occupation of government bungalow at 6, KM Marg, more skeletons have tumbled out of the closet.
Another RTI application by Subhash Chandra Agrawal has revealed that Ms Kumar had defied court order for 19 months, which directed her to vacate the bungalow. The bungalow, where Ms Kumar has set up a trust in the memory of her late father and former Parliamentarian Babu Jagjivan Ram, was ordered to be vacated by 31st March 1990. However, Ms Kumar persisted, and retrospectively, Cabinet Committee for Accommodations through its order dated October 1991 ‘regularised’ allotment of bungalow in name of late Indrani Devi with retrospective effect from 25th March 1990.
The CPIO of the Directorate of Estates in his reply to Mr Agrawal’s petition said, “On account of non-vacation of the premises by Meira Kumar, eviction proceedings were initiated. The estate officer passed the eviction order on 22nd January 1990, directing her to vacate the promises within 15 days. Ms Kumar however, has obtained a stay against the eviction order. The court dismissed her appeal and gave her time to vacate the bungalow by 31st March 1990.
Subsequently, the Cabinet Committee on Accommodation in its meeting held on 24th October, 1991, approved allotment of bungalow no. 6 at KM Marg in the name of late Indrani Devi with effect from 25th March 1990 for life on payment of normal license fee.”
However, Indrani Devi’s allotment was cancelled on 14th May 2002, one month after she expired. So, on basis of non-vacation by her family members, evictions were started once again. On 3rd July 2002, her family members were asked to move out.
In 2004, Ms Kumar was allotted the same bungalow when she became the minister for social justice. But she expressed her inability to move there, and requested that the bungalow be converted into a memorial for her father; and another house be allotted to her. But no decision was taken on the issue. When she was appointed Speaker, she was allotted another bungalow on Akbar Road; and has been staying there since.
In a 2000 meeting, the Cabinet decided on a complete ban on conversion of government bungalows to memorial sites. But today, 6, KM Marg bungalow houses the Babu Jagjivan Ram memorial, including a statue of the same person. The Delhi Municipal Corporation has even put up a board on that site announcing its name.
“Lok Sabha Secretariat should make public copies of all communications sent to various public authorities regarding information to vacate the said bungalow in the year 2002. Action taken against concerned ones for not taking cognizance of such communications. Enquiry should be made about the person/authority paying salary to one Ramsingh presently serving as care-taker of the bungalow,” says Mr Agrawal. He also said that the Supreme Court and Delhi High Court should take cognizance of the retrospective allotment to late Indrani Devi.
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