Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday initiated contempt of court proceedings against Jalandhar deputy commissioner for failing to comply with the court's order passed on August 23, 2012 in connection with the Congress Bhawan shop construction case. The court has issued notice to former DC Priyank Bharti and current DC Shruti Singh for March 1.
A civil writ petition was filed by Manit Malhotra, a local BJP leader, with regard to illegal construction of shops by the Congress Bhawan authorities, after getting information under the Right to Information Act, on which the court ordered the deputy commissioner, who is also the chairperson of Jalandhar Improvement Trust, to inquire into the allegations and take necessary action within three months, but the DC failed to do so.
The District Congress Committee (urban) had constructed 10 shops on the land meant for parking, in posh Rajinder Nagar locality, in violation of the building bylaws. District Congress Committee (rural) had also violated the laws by constructing three shops without getting mandatory building plan approved from the competent authority, submitted Manit Malhotra in his petition.
“The Jalandhar Improvement Trust had allotted nearly 28-marla plot to the Congress at a concessional price of Rs 16,915 nearly 38 years ago, but the allottee not only failed to pay the requisite amount in four equal instalments, but also got constructed shops without obtaining mandatory change in land use clearance, registration of conveyance deed and building plan approval,” Malhotra said.
“The Congress had paid only Rs 4,229 as the first instalment that too two years after the plot was allotted. Later, the allotment was cancelled for non-payment of dues. Interestingly, the then Congress ruled improvement trust had decided to re-allot the plot in 1980 by allowing the allottee to pay rest of three bi-annual instalments and also waived off penal interest, terming the latter as a “social” organisation instead of a political one,” Malhotra said.
“The then deputy commissioner Priyank Bharti never held a hearing and no verification of original plan had been brought on record. I was never called by the JIT authorities and the deputy commissioner to record my statement,” said Malhotra.
On December 2, my legal counsel had served the notice on then DC Priyank Bharti, asking him to comply with the orders of the high court within 15 days, but there was no response, Malhotra added.
On December 31, Shruti Singh took the charge as deputy commissioner.