‘Bungalow war’ among Punjab’s high & mighty goes all the way to HChttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/bungalow-war-among-punjabs-high-mighty-goes-all-the-way-to-hc/

‘Bungalow war’ among Punjab’s high & mighty goes all the way to HC

UT gets notice against illegal occupation by former leader of Opposition,ministers and officers.

UT gets notice against illegal occupation by former leader of Opposition,ministers and officers

The old order changeth not yielding place to new. The war for VIP bungalows among Punjab’s high and mighty politicians and babus has reached the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Admitting the application of advocate Surinder Pal Tinna as intervenor in another pending petition,Justice Rajesh Bindal today issued notice to the Chandigarh administration against “illegal occupation of government accommodations in prime sectors of Chandigarh by high-profile MLAs,ex-ministers and retired top bureaucrats.”

From former leader of opposition Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and high-profile babu-turned-politician Darbara Singh Guru to former ministers Sucha Singh Langah and Ranjit Singh Brahampura,the petition says all abovementioned persons are occupying government properties illegally,pleading that they be made respondents along with the Chandigarh administration. The case will now come up for resumed hearing on October 8.

The applicant in his petition said Bhattal was allotted kothi no 46,Sector-2,Chandigarh by the Punjab government during her term as Leader of Opposition in 2007-2012. “In 2012 elections in Punjab,she won but was not elected as the Leader of Opposition. The Punjab Chief Secretary had passed an order dated 22.3.2012 directing her to vacate the premises,which she is occupying since last more than 19 years by seeking extension one way or the other. But she continues to occupy it without entitlement,” it says. As an annexure,the petition has letter of chief secretary allotting the house to incumbent Leader of Opposition Sunil Jakhar. Notably,though the notice also warned of charging penal rent in case the house is not vacated within 15 days,it was not recovered from Bhattal.

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The other high-profile “illegal occupant”,says the petition is Darbara Singh Guru who served as principal secretary to Punjab Chief Minister and retired in the month of December,2011. “Before his retirement,he was allotted kothi No 54 in Sector-5,Chandigarh. Later,Guru contested elections as Akali Dal candidate from Bhadaur constituency in Barnala and lost. At present he is neither a government employee nor an elected MLA and is no way entitled to any government accommodation,” it adds.

“Similarly Ranjit Singh Brahampura was also allotted government accommodation during his stint as cabinet minister in 2007-2012. Brahampura lost the 2012 elections but is still illegally occupying kothi no 43 in Sector 2 despite Punjab Chief Secretary’s order directing him to vacate the premises. Another former minister,Sucha Singh Langah,has lost elections and is thus not entitled to any government accommodation but continues to occupy one,” it says.

Claiming that the government is not ready to take any action against the illegal occupants as no eviction proceedings have been initiated against them,the petitioner said some of the above mentioned persons are not staying in the accommodations provided to them but have sublet these properties to others. “These people have also caused a great loss to the state exchequer by not paying the rent with penal interest,” it adds.

While disposing off a civil writ petition filed by Tinna earlier this year,Justice Jasbir Singh had given liberty to the applicant to be an intervener in another pending case,Rajinder Kumar versus Union Territory,Chandigarh,with regard to unauthorised / illegal occupation of government properties in Chandigarh.

“The notice to the UT Administration is for October 8 when the above case is also due for hearing. Our prayer to the court is also to make these people as respondents along with Punjab Chief Secretary who directed the above mentioned persons to vacate the government accommodation but till date no steps have been taken to implement the order,” Advocate Surinder Pal Tinna said.

Recently,eviction notice was served on another babu-turned politician PS Gill,former Punjab DGP who lost the Moga seat in January polls,who continues to occupy a sprawling bungalow in Chandigarh.

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