Nearly four years after a show-cause notice was issued for misuse to Sindhi Sweets and the owner of the building housing it in Sector 17, UT estate officer-cum-deputy commissioner Mohammed Shayin has made it clear that approximately Rs 16 crore till date would have to be paid as misuse charges by the owner and the occupier.
The estate officer (EO) also made it clear that the misuse was still in existence.
"Even the latest report of the misuse branch and building branch reveals that misuse is being carried out at the resumed site and the owners/ occupiers are earning huge profits by using the site," the EO ruled.
He added, "The ground floor was meant to be used as shop and the upper floors were to be used for official purposes. However, the appellants have started using upper floors for running the sweet shop and restaurant without getting them converted for commercial use. Even the basement was being used for running restaurant when the notice was issued to the appellants."
Hardit Singh Bassi and others purchased the site in August 1975, but a show-cause notice was issued on December 10, 2008, "for misusing basement for sale of sweets/ restaurant in the name of M/s Sindhi Sweets." The notice was issued to owners Bassi and others and a copy was also forwarded to the occupiers of the site.
The site was to be used only for general trade, as per the terms and conditions of allotment.
Another show-cause notice was issued in December 2009 for misusing the site before it was resumed due to building violations in 2011. But, the owners/ occupants continued to misuse it. The misuse was not stopped, and another show-cause notice was issued to the owners on January 8, 2013, to pay misuse charges amounting to Rs 14.7 crore calculated up to October 16, 2012.
It was further clarified that in case the misuse continued beyond October 2012, additional misuse charges would be calculated and conveyed. Aggrieved, the appellants went in appeal before the chief administrator against the notice. The chief administrator on February 18, 2013, remanded the case back for passing a speaking order whether misuse existed.
A fresh inspection was carried out by the tehsildar (misuse) on April 16, and misuse was found existing at the time of inspection. The basement was being used for storage purpose by Sindhi Sweets; the first, second and third floors for restaurant purpose, while the fourth floor for tailoring workshop.
In his order, the EO asserted, "It is evident that the owners/ occupiers have not stopped misuse of premises, despite issuance of notices. The plea of the appellants that there is no misuse at the site in question cannot be accepted."
"The appellants are avoiding the eviction proceedings under the garb of pending appeal… Further in case the misuse is still going on beyond April 16, additional misuse charges may be calculated and conveyed".
Neeraj Bajaj, director, Sindhi Sweets, Sector 17, said, "We will go in appeal against the order. It's a commercial site and there is no misuse or violation of the building. Notices were issued earlier and then also we had moved the UT finance secretary who had in turn asked the UT administration to give us a hearing."