Of the beneficiaries of the Haryana Urban Development Authority’s (HUDA) discretionary quota or direct allotment scheme, at least 44 gave the same address: 24, Akbar Road, New Delhi, the same as the Congress headquarters. Another six had as their address 10 Janpath — the residence of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Many of them staff working at the two addresses, they were allotted residential plots, in Gurgaon and Faridabad, between the early-’80s and mid-’90s, and most have already sold these since. At the time, the Congress’s Bhajan Lal was the chief minister of Haryana. A few got multiple allotments as well, shows HUDA’s website.
HUDA is currently investigating all instances of multiple allotments to individuals under its preferential schemes, including under the discretionary quota, on the orders of the Punjab & Haryana High Court.
A senior HUDA official told The Indian Express: “The records to be scrutinised are quite voluminous. We shall submit a detailed report in court soon.”
From an office clerk to a driver, staff at Congress headquarters ended up with plots ranging between 125 sq yards and 500 sq yards in size. A few had two or more plots allotted to them.
Some of these beneficiaries are now working in the offices of senior Congress leaders, including Ajay Maken, Digvijaya Singh, M L Vohra etc, all at 24, Akbar Road.
Chandan Singh Payal, an administrative officer at 24, Akbar Road, got two plots, in Gurgaon and Faridabad. Measuring 10 marlas each, the plots were allotted in April 1981 and October 1984. He has sold both. “I think I sold them in 1992. Not only I, there were many others who got many plots under the discretionary quota, almost all have sold them. The premium was not much at that time. I think I sold the plots at a profit of around Rs 35,000 each,” says Payal.
Another administrative officer, Tilak Raj, was allotted plots in both Faridabad’s Sector 7 and 46, in June 1984 and May 1995. He has already taken voluntary retirement from service but is frequently seen at the AICC office.
Office superintendent N P V Nair got two plots in his name, in Faridabad and Gurgaon, in December 1981 and April 1986. He passed away a few years ago.
Other 24, Akbar Road, beneficiaries who are now dead include Rajgopalan, Hira Singh, Lalit Mohan, C B Upadhyay, Sugan Singh etc.
There are also instances of beneficiaries selling plots to HUDA’s employees. Krishan Chand Jangra, who works in the despatch department at 24, Akbar Road, was allotted a 6 marla plot in Gurgaon’s Sector 55 in October 1994. “I sold my plot sometime in 1999 to a woman who is an employee of HUDA. I even got intimation from HUDA office that the plot allotted to me has been transferred in the new owner’s name. I sold it off for about Rs 3 lakh. Almost everybody who works at 24, Akbar Road, got plots at the time.”
Another such beneficiary, Bilochan Prasad Dhasmana, got a plot of 10 marlas in Faridabad’s Sector 8 in April 1981. “I could not pay the instalments, thus disposed it of a few years later. I am retired now, but working on a contract basis.”
Of the six beneficiaries who gave their address as 10 Janpath, five were allotted 10-marla plots each in Gurgaon’s Sector 10 A, and all on the same day — January 1, 1992. They include Abdul Jabbar, Madan Lal, Mahesh Parshad Kashyap, Ram Nath Sonar and Nawang Thoundup Sherpa.
Sources in the Congress confirmed at least three of the six had worked at 10 Janpath in the 1990s, while Kashyap is still employed there, all of them as helps. Those who worked in the early 1990s were Jabbar, Madan Lal and Sonar.
Sherpa, sources added, had worked in the government hospitality wing at the Prime Minister’s office. Sherpa is said to be dead.