The Public Works Department (PWD) of the Delhi government has slapped a fine of Rs 27 lakh on the AAP for “unauthorised occupation” of a bungalow in central Delhi’s Rouse Avenue, which houses the party headquarters. The move triggered a sharp reaction from the AAP which termed it a “political conspiracy”.
AAP national secretary Pankaj Gupta, who has been served a notice by the PWD, accused the BJP of using the Lt. Governor as a “medium” to force the party to vacate the premises of its headquarters. In its latest notice, the PWD turned down the AAP’s request to let it function from the premises near the ITO junction, and directed it to vacate it saying there was no provision to extend the “illegal occupation”.
“The party is liable to pay the penal rent/market rent for the period of unauthorised occupation. The dues calculated up to 31.05.2017 amounts to Rs 27,73,802. The dues will further accrue up to the date the premises is finally vacated,” the notice says. Gupta said the AAP with 66 seats in the Delhi Legislative Assembly and four MPs in the Lok Sabha should get space measuring 500 yards for its office. The Congress and the BJP have zero and four legislators respectively in Delhi, yet they have party offices, which are being operated out of bungalows, he added. The AAP is also exploring options on its future course of action.
In April, the PWD had issued a notice to AAP’s National Convenor Arvind Kejriwal asking him to immediately vacate the office, which it said was allotted in “violation” of rules. The three-member Shunglu committee, formed by the then Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung to examine over 400 files pertaining to the decisions taken by the AAP government, had pointed out “irregularities” in allotting the office.
In November 2015, the AAP government had approved a policy for land allotment to state parties. The Kejriwal government then alloted a bungalow to the AAP on Rouse Avenue the following year. The bungalow was earlier alloted to Asim Ahmed Khan, the then Delhi minister, who was sacked over graft charges.