If utility bills are anything to go by, the servants of several MPs have been living in more luxury than their masters.
Sample this: The electricity bill for the 3, Thyagraj Marg house of former prime minister HD Deve Gowda was Rs 1,972 while for the servants’ quarter of his bungalow, the dues stood at a staggering Rs 74,043.
The information came through copies of the request letters sent by the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) to former and sitting MPs, asking them to pay the pending power/water bills, for their own residences and the servants’ quarters attached to them.The copies have been obtained by RTI activist Subhash Agrawal.
Several such letters, dated September 2011, February 2012 and May 2012, have been sent to Deepender Singh Hooda, Jagdish Tytler, Raj Babbar, Shashi Tharoor, T Subbarami Reddy, Lalu Yadav, Najma Heptullah, Omar Abdullah, Prithiviraj Chavan and Ram Vilas Paswan among others.
The NDMC claimed it had disconnected water /electricity services and provided a list. However, of the list of 52 residences, only six belonged to MPs while rest were servants’ quarters, located on South Avenue, North Avenue and Firozshah Road.
“It is a matter of regret that the prime minister laid the foundation on March 16 for the Ghani Khan Choudhury Institute of Engineering & Technology (GKCIET) in Malda (West Bengal) named after the biggest defaulter of telephone and electricity bills (R33.12 lakh),” Agrawal rued.
There’s also a long list — running into 51 pages — of sitting and former MPs showing outstanding dues of electricity/water updated as on December 2012. The amounts range from as low as R16 to as high as R33.12 lakh.
Agrawal had been perusing the case since 2012 when he first filed the application and finally approached the Central Information Commission. During a hearing on February 11, Information Commissioner Annapurna Dixit directed the NDMC officials to provide details of disconnections of water/electricity connections of sitting and ex-MPs within 20 days.
The information commissioner prompted the NDMC to compile the data and finally reply on March 15.
NDMC was unable to provide an update on how many of those defaulters have paid their dues in the past three months.