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Govt flats under police radar for illegal tenants

The Delhi police is set to begin a drive to check government accommodation in south Delhi to ensure the flats have not been rented out

delhi Updated: Jul 28, 2016 21:52 IST
Vatsala Shrangi
Illegal tenants

The drive is aimed at preventing the government quarters from becoming safe havens for carrying illegal activities.(Illustration: Abhimanyu Sinha)

Those living in RK Puram’s government flats and nearby colonies, shouldn’t be surprised if they find a policeman at their doorsteps in the coming days. The cop has been sent to your home to update your details and verify their records.

For security reasons, Delhi police is set to begin a drive to check all government accommodations in south Delhi to ensure the flats have not been rented out. Renting out a government accommodation is not permitted, and the police said many such cases of illegal tenants have come to their knowledge recently.

The police have tied up with the RWAs of sectors 1 to 12 to make sure residents cooperate and don’t turn hostile to the exercise. Each sector here has over 1,000 flats. Ashok Kumar, secretary of sector 5 RWA, said, “We recently met the police to help them in the verification drive. Though such instances of renting out the accommodation are rare but we discourage the practice by holding talks and events with residents. Besides, we encourage residents to come forward to get servant verification done and also issue circulars.” Kumar works with the ministry of home affairs.

After RK Puram, mostly housed by central government employees, the drive may be extended to other government colonies including Moti Bagh, Lodhi Colony, Andrews Ganj and Sarojini Nagar. This drive will also prove helpful in keeping a check on anti-social elements who may seek hideouts in these residential areas which are otherwise least suspected.

The move comes after the arrest last month of an assistant sub-inspector (ASI) of the Intelligence Bureau along with another person on charges of smuggling imported liquor at his sector 5 RK Puram house. The police seized liquor worth Rs 50 lakhs and Rs15.5 lakh cash from the duo. The RK Puram police had said that the liquor was being smuggled in a Mercedes car. Investigation revealed that the ASI had rented out his flat to the other accused, who was using it to stash the liquor.

A senior police officer said that they have started the drive to ascertain the number of families and bachelors staying in these colonies. The drive is aimed at preventing the government quarters from becoming safe havens for carrying illegal activities. “After the recent arrest, we noticed that many allotted owners are letting out their homes to people. We found small-time businessmen and taxi drivers living at some places while at some houses people have started study centres,” said the official.

The official said that the house owners are also liable for action in such cases.

A spokesperson of the ministry of urban development said, “It is a violation of the rules of allotment in case a government employee sublets the accommodation. We regularly inspect the colonies and also receive tip-offs from those living there. While in a case of a confirmed violation, the original allottee has to appear before the directorate of estates, and as per rules, is liable to cancellation of allotment. However, few such instances have come to our notice.”

Police sources said after conducting some of the verifications, investigators were surprised to know that the allotted owners didn’t even bother to visit their houses for months and some of the tenants have been asked to deposit the rent online through NetBanking.

“At times, when the officers go for verification, those living in the house claim that they are relatives of the owners, which is not found to be true on most occasions,” he said. The police is taking help of RWAs to convince the allotted owners to provide their details.

“Recently, the RK Puram police station SHO met the senior functionaries of the RWAs. He discussed several security related issues with them and also requested to cooperate with the police. Residents of some sectors which have flats for senior officers refuse to cooperate with us, which is why we have roped in the RWAs,” the officer said.

The police have started the drive under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (power to issue order in urgent cases of nuisance of apprehended danger), ordering that no landlord shall rent out his accommodation to any person. “Contravention of these orders is a punishable offence under Section 188 of the IPC (Indian Penal Code), section relating to disobedience of order duly promulgated by public servant. It can amount to cancellation of allotment of the house to the owner,” said the official.

What triggered the drive

The move comes after the arrest on June 28 of an assistant sub-inspector (ASI) of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) along with another person on charges of smuggling imported liquor from his sector 5 RK Puram house. The police seized liquor worth `50 lakhs and `15.5 lakh cash from the duo. The liquor was being smuggled in a Mercedes car.

n Investigation into the case revealed that the ASI had rented his government flat to the other accused, who was using it to stash the liquor. The police raided the house and seized 1,207 bottles of different brands.

n However, this is not the first time that such a case has come to light. In 2010, a self-styled godman was arrested by the police for running a prostitution racket from Khanpur near Saket. According to police, while his nexus was active in Saket and Malviya Nagar areas, he was found to be residing in a rented accommodation in one of the government accommodations in RK Puram.

Security first

The police are also running a verification drive for tenants and domestic helps in the run-up to August 15. Police personnel set up camps on Sundays where residents can get their tenants and servants verified. They also rope in RWAs to encourage people to get their servants verified, as, in most incidents of robberies and others, it is found that the helps were not verified and had a role to play in the case.