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Friday, July 20, 2018

MPs’ guests,ex-MPs squat for years in their Lutyens houses

This seems to be a clear misuse of facilities by MPs.

Written by Shyamlal Yadav | New Delhi | Published: September 3, 2013 2:02:53 am

Most accommodation given to ex-MPs; stay extended every 3 months.

MPs house other MPs as guests in their official accommodation,reveals RTI

In a clear misuse of the guest accommodation facilities they are entitled to,Members of Parliament have been found frequently getting these houses in the heart of Delhi allotted to former MPs or letting their guests stay for years on end.

In realty rates,Lutyens’ Delhi beats NY,London hands down

Of the 51 such houses occupied at present by guests of MPs of both houses,38 are with former MPs,information accessed by The Indian Express under the RTI Act shows.

Of the 106 allotments made since 2007 on the recommendation of 96 MPs,14 were allotted without even mentioning the name of the guests. Requests of at least 55 MPs to allot guest houses to former MPs were turned down since January 2008.

The ruling Congress party seems to have a clear upper hand in getting these guest accommodations as 79 allotments were made on the recommendation of Congress MPs. Fourteen were guests of the BJP,two of the BSP,three of the NCP and one MP was from the Akali Dal,among others.

The housing committees of both houses usually allot such accommodation and there are no prescribed rules governing them. The houses are normally allotted for three months,but the list of occupants given by the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats shows that most guests occupy the houses for several years by managing frequent extensions before the end of the three months.

Officials said that there is also no system to check whether guests for whom the houses have been recommended are actually living there or have sub-let it. Some guests have also managed to get two houses through different MPs simultaneously and used both.

Sources said the rent for the guest accommodation is fixed by the Directorate of Estates at the rate of around Rs 100 per sq ft. This works out to between Rs 7,000 and Rs 10,000 for the three-bedroom houses in Vittalbhai Patel House and between Rs 20,000 and Rs 30,000 for the apartments on North and South Avenue.

Some of these hosts and guests would easily make it to a list of who’s who of national politics.

* Balram Jakhar,a former governor and former Lok Sabha speaker,has been a guest of Lok Sabha MP Gajendra Singh Rajukhedi with a house on South Avenue since October 2009.

* Former BJP president Bangaru Lakshman has been allotted a house on North Avenue first as a guest of K B Shanappa from April 22,2010 to May 22,2012 and since then as a guest of Purushottam Rupala. This includes the nearly six-month period he was in custody in connection with the fake arms deal case.

* Bhim Singh of the Jammu and Kashmir Panthers Party has been a guest of MPs from several parties. He was in V P House as a guest of S S Ahluwalia of BJP from June 1,2007 to August 17,2010. Another BJP MP,Bhagat Singh Koshyari,got Singh a house from August 17,2010 to March 2,2013. Singh was also a guest of NCP MP D P Tripathi for three months from October 26,2012 when he had already been given another house as Koshyari’s guest. Presently,he is a guest of independent MP Om Prakash Yadav and has got a flat in V P House.

* Congress treasurer Motilal Vora seems to have been a generous host. His guests include former MP Dwijendra Nath Sharma,who has been in V P House,since September 14,2012; former MP K C Lenka,who was in V P House from May 1,2005 to February 21,2013. Lenka got this extended until August 19,2013,on the recommendation of Dhiraj Prasad Sahu; Anuradha Vyas,who was allotted a house on South Avenue from February 9,2008 to March 31,2013; and Vidya Dwivedi,who got a house in Meena Bagh from April 8,2009 to June 30,2013.

Vora also got five houses for his guests on North Avenue from January 2008 to March 2013 without mentioning the names of the guests.

* Congress MP from Rohtak,Deepender Hooda,has got guest accommodation for his grandmother Har Devi on South Avenue since September 22,2009.

* Rajya Sabha member Ram Vilas Paswan has accommodated his brother Ram Chandra Paswan,a former MP,as his guest on South Avenue since July 25,2011.

* Ramesh Chennithala,a former MP and former Kerala PCC President,had a flat in V P House from December 2006 to October 2012 as a guest of P J Kurien. He also has a house on North Avenue since October 2009 as a guest of N S V Chittan.

* Former minister of state in the Department of Personnel and Training,Suresh Pachauri,is the guest of his successor V Narayanasami,living on South Avenue since August 10,2010.

“Members are allotted accommodation for their guests on payment of rent in advance normally in the Western Court hostel. Guest accommodation is also allotted in V P House,North and South Avenues and Meena Bagh under very exceptional circumstances,” says the Rajya Sabha handbook. “The house committee is aware that a good number of guests do come to members,particularly during parliament session.”

In his response to the RTI query from The Indian Express,Surender Singh,director and CPIO of the Lok Sabha,said no accommodation is earmarked as guest accommodation.

But J P Agarwal,chairman of the housing committee of the Lok Sabha,said his panel has been allotting these houses and flats as per convention. “There is no law to prohibit it. If the Directorate of Estates or any other authority formulates some law,we will not do this,” he said.

Bhubaneswar Kalita,his Rajya Sabha counterpart,said he could not comment on the issue outside the committee as that was the “mandate”.

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