THE LIST of pre-1965 tenants of the Raja of Mahmudabad in the State capital seems to be growing with each passing day ever since the Supreme Court made it clear that those enjoying this status are not to be evicted.
From 35 initially, the number of occupants claiming themselves to be under the pre-65 category has now gone up to 51! This leaves only six post-65 tenants, if the assertions of others are found to be true, who would have to vacate their premises as per the apex court’s order.
Before September 19, the deadline set by the authorities for the 57 tenants to furnish documentary proof of the period of their tenancy; the records available with the administration showed the number of pre and post 65 tenants as 35 and 22, respectively. “Only three tenants have so far furnished documentary proof to establish their claim that they were tenants of the erstwhile Raja much before the properties were declared as enemy and taken over by the government custodian in 1965,” said an administration official.
Of these documentary produced by two namely, Ashok Kumar Manocha and Antar Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth in Mahmudabad Mansion, to back their claim has been corroborated by the administration.
The authorities are yet to scrutinize the pre-65 tenancy documents that were presented to them on Thursday by the Premier Motors Private Limited, whose owner Peush Tandon has stated the present occupant GD Baluja of Fairdeal Agencies was his business associate.
“We have been tenants of the Raja since 1954. Since we were entitled to associate others, we made GD Baluja of Messers Fairdeal Agencies our business partner in 1970,” states his representation to managing officer of the custodian of enemy property Manoj Rai.
Sure enough, JK Wahal of the Oriental Motors Corporation (OMC) in Lawrie Building is also giving the same argument for the 13 shopkeepers of the Janpath Market, who were sub-let the property by him. The OMC belonged to one William Robert Lancaster, who after occupying the premises as Raja’s tenant since 1922 entered into a lease agreement for the same on August 10, 1932 after which the motorcar company was taken over by Wahal’s father before Independence.
Wahal said under the old Rent Control Act, he was empowered to sub-let the property; as such the 13 post-65 people in the Lawrie Building who were sub-let the property by him should not be evicted.
Sub Divisional Magistrate (Sadar) cum managing officer of the enemy property Manoj Rai told HT that all post-1965 tenants would have to vacate their premises as per the court’s directives.