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Mayor in crosshairs over salary issue

delhi Updated: May 23, 2011 00:46 IST
Neelam Pandey

The controversy surrounding the election of Rajni Abbi as the mayor of Delhi refuses to die. After being elected as Delhi Mayor on April 20 this year, Abbi had claimed that she had applied for leave from Delhi University’s Faculty of Law, where she was working as an associate professor.

But in a reply to a Right to Information (RTI) application, Delhi University has stated that she it yet to be granted leave by the varsity and has been drawing a monthly salary of R96,635 from the University since January 2011.

The RTI application, a copy of which is with Hindustan Times, was filed on April 25 and a reply was received on May 10.

However, Abbi claims that she has applied for leave. “I applied for leave from the university the day I was elected as Mayor. I am yet to receive a reply from the university, following which, I will decide on the future course of action,” said Rajni Abbi.

The opposition Congress has claimed that as Abbi had not got approval from the University, her appointment as the mayor of Delhi was illegal. Not just this, Abbi had claimed that she was not holding an ‘office of profit’, as Delhi University was not a government office but an autonomous organisation.

In an RTI application, Shambhu Dayam Sharma wanted to know if Delhi University was a government or a private institution.

Delhi University, in its reply, said the varsity was a central university.

As per Delhi Municipal Corporation (DMC) Act’s section 500, a municipal councillor has been defined as a public servant and section 9 (G) states that if anybody holds an office of profit under a government. institution, he or she is not eligible to contest municipal elections.

Quoting this section, the Congress, which is the main opposition in the MCD, has alleged that Abbi was holding an ‘office of profit’. Hence, it was illegal for her to be the mayor and continue to draw a salary from another government institution.

The opposition is now planning to take up this issue with the Lieutenant Governor.

“Abbi has not taken the required approval from Delhi University. Hence, her participation in the Mayoral election is invalid. As per Delhi Municipal Act, her nomination should have been rejected. It is a breach of trust,” said Jai Kishan Sharma, leader of opposition.