Meira Kumar rebuts bungalow allegation
Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, who is in the eye of a storm of a bungalow being converted in a memorial building in the name of her father, has denied that she is occupying more than one bungalow illegally.
The Office of the Speaker said it is "factually incorrect, highly mischievous and defamatory" that she will occupy a bungalow that has been given on a 25-year lease to a foundation in the name of her father, Babu Jagjivan Ram.
The statement said the allegation is meant to "maligning the reputation of the Speaker" since the allotment of the bungalow at 6 Krishna Menon Marg has nothing to do with the Speaker.
RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal, who had written to the government on this issue earlier, claimed that the bungalow was allotted to Meira Kumar and was asked to pay a rent of Rs 1.98 crore for the 2009 to 2013 period while the government's Directorate of Estates claimed during that period there was no claimant to the bungalow in question.
The bungalow was reportedly let out to Babu Jagjivan Ram National Foundation for a monthly rent of Rs 79,565/-, said reports.
Babu Jagjivan Ram had lived in the bungalow till his death in 1986 while the Speaker's office said she had vacated it in 2002 and started living in a private accommodation. Meira Kumar now lives in 20 Akbar Road in an official bungalow allotted to Speaker.
RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal said "Union government has now immorally and indirectly regularised government-bungalow number 6 at Krishna Menon Marg (New Delhi) as Babu Jagjiwanram memorial by now allotting it name of Babu Jagjiwanram National Foundation till the year 2038."
"Earlier the bungalow was always under authorised or unauthorised possession of family-members of Babu Jahjiwanram for last more than 27 years firstly in name of mother of Meira Kumar, then in name of Meira Kumar first as Parliamentarian and then as Union Minister. Problem arose when Meira Kumar was made Lok Sabha Speaker and there is a fixed official residence at Akbar Road (New Delhi) for Lok Sabha Speaker."
"Ever since two wings of Union Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) namely Directorate of Estates (DoE) and Central Public Works Department (CPWD) gave different status of the bungalow with DoE saying it 'unallotted' while CPWD said it to be under occupation of Meira Kumar," claimed Agrawal.
"Regularisation of this bungalow as memorial in name of a foundation is indirect violation of cabinet-note of the year 2000 and Supreme Court verdict dated 05.07.2013 which specifically prohibit conversion of government-bungalow in Leyton's zone of New Delhi as memorials.
"Lok Sabha Speaker should better resign and Union Minister for Urban Development be sacked from the cabinet for misuse of their positions and influence to indirectly convert government-bungalow number 6 Krishna menon Marg (New Delhi) as Babu Jagjiwanram memorial," he said.
He said the Supreme Court should take sue-motto cognizance of the massive irregularity by summoning all government records "about this bungalow where once a rent-bill of about rupees two crores was issued and withdrawn in name of Meira Kumar, this being a blunt case of encroachment and trespass of prime government-property with Union government once having defying even order of Delhi High Court for 19 months before Union government allotting it to family-members of Babu Jagjiwanram from retrospective effect."
"RTI response also reveals that only function of Babu Jagjiwanram National Foundation is to celebrate birth and death anniversaries of Babu Jagjiwanram with interest on 50-crores corpus fund accumulated with no purpose," he said.
(Posted on 27-12-2013)