India’s richest woman, 6 other ex-MLAs owe rent

  • Navneet Sharma, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Jan 08, 2015 14:15 IST

Congress leader Savitri Jindal is the richest woman in India, but is not known to clear her rent dues or vacate official accommodation on time.

The former minister, who had accumulated rent dues running into lakhs in Haryana earlier, now has outstanding dues of Rs 43,000 towards the Chandigarh administration for MLA flat allotted to her in Sector 3 of the city. The assistant collector (F&A), rents, Chandigarh administration, has, in a letter to the Haryana Vidhan Sabha on January 2, informed it about the outstanding dues against the former legislators.

Jindal, urban local bodies minister in the previous Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led Congress government, is among the seven ex-MLAs who have pending dues for not vacating the flats despite losing their entitlement. These former MLAs, including Rao Dharam Pal, Dharam Singh, Balbir Pal Shah, Sampat Singh (all from Congress), Sher Singh Badshami and Subhash Chaudhary (both from INLD), have outstanding dues between Rs 43,000 and Rs 63,000 till December 31, 2014 for MLA flats allotted to them in Chandigarh, according to information gathered from sources and under the Right to Information Act, 2005.

Another ex-MLA Naresh Kumar, who has now vacated the flat, cleared his pending dues of `71,738 on January 2 after the matter was raised by the Chandigarh administration.

These leaders, who either lost or did not contest the general assembly elections, ceased to be members of the 12th assembly in October 2014 and were required to vacate their flats within 15 days. “Under Sub rule (4) of Rule 7 of the Haryana Legislator’s Flat, Servant Quarter and Motor Garages Allotment Rules, 1975, the period an ex-member is in unauthorised occupation of the allotted premises, he/she shall be charged economic rent for the first two weeks and thereafter 150 times the economic rent till the date of actual vacation of the premises,” principal secretary, Haryana Vidhan Sabha, wrote to Savitri Jindal on October 30, 2014.

UT rent department officials told HT that they had not received any intimation regarding handing over the vacant possession of these flats. “The penal rent will be levied till the actual vacation of premises and handing over of possession. In addition, interest will be charged at the rate of 12% per annum till the date of final payment,” they said.

Repeated efforts were made to contact Jindal, but she was unavailable. However, her spokesman Kalyan Kumar said that he was not aware of any such issue. “If there are any outstanding payments, Savitri madam will clear them as per the government norms,” he said.

In the previous Congress government in Haryana, Jindal had run up huge rent dues. The Hisar leader was a minister in Hooda’s first government, but was not accommodated in the state council of ministers from the beginning when the Congress retained power in 2009. However, she did not vacate her sprawling ministerial bungalow in Sector 7 of Chandigarh despite losing her entitlement. The chief secretary’s office sent repeated reminders and notices, but she continued to occupy the bungalow, running up a total outstanding amount of Rs 42 lakh. Of this, the former minister paid `20 lakh. Jindal vacated the bungalow in April 2013.

Similarly, four others – former ministers OP Jain and Kiran Choudhry and former chief parliamentary secretaries Zile Ram and Ram Kishan Gujjar – had overstayed in their official houses, running up dues between Rs 11.5 lakh and Rs 19 lakh with penal rent.

The then chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had, in a gesture of generosity towards his colleagues, in January last year decided to waive off their penal rent and other charges, totalling approximately `81 lakh. The state council of ministers also granted its approval.

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