Nearly five dozen former parliamentarians owe close to Rs 1 crore as rental charges for overstaying in government accommodation long after leaving office, a Right to Information (RTI) reply has revealed.
While former finance minister and senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, one-time India cricket captain Mohammed Azharuddin and actress Jaya Pradha are among the defaulters, former Rajya Sabha member Gireesh Kumar tops the list as he owes the government Rs 23 lakh.
Though, barring five, all the 56 former MPs vacated their official accommodation in 2014, they failed to clear the dues totaling Rs 93 lakh.
Senior urban development (UD) ministry officials said the amounts to be paid include the penalty for unauthorised stay – Rs 150 per square metre per month – and charges for furniture provided to the parliamentarians.
While the ministry charges a monthly fee of Rs 100 for independent bungalows allotted to MPs, accommodation is free for those given a flat.
A senior official in the ministry said a majority of the MPs who owe money are those who have served only a single term. “If an MP is re-contesting either for Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha, he or she is required to clear all dues,” said the official. “In such cases, arrears are recovered compulsorily. Of the 56 cases where rent is due, a few may date back to the early 1990s.”
The ministry has written several times to the former MPs to pay up.
“In some cases, after pursuing for reasonable period we have referred the matter to collectors of respective districts where the defaulters are staying to recover the money under due process,” the official added.