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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Dec 2014

Lokayukta orders probe against Samalkha MLA, five MC officials for misuse of office

Vishal Joshi , Hindustan Times  Karnal, August 31, 2014
First Published: 20:17 IST(31/8/2014) | Last Updated: 20:18 IST(31/8/2014)

The lokayukta has ordered a time-bound inquiry into the allegations of misuse of public office by the sitting Congress legislator from Samalkha in Panipat district, Dharam Singh Chokkar, by raising unauthorised residential constructions.

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Following a complaint on the sworn affidavit by an RTI activist PP Kapoor, the lokayukta has also directed the additional chief secretary, local and urban bodies department, to submit a report on the conduct of five officials of the Samalkha municipal committee, including its chairperson Sumitra Sharma, for undue benefit to the elected representatives and allegedly indulging in rampant corruption.

In his complaint to lokayukta (HT has a copy), Kapoor has alleged that without obtaining change of land use (CLU) permission, Chhokar was building a farmhouse in the municipality limits of Samalkha, the town located on the national highway-1 and part of the national capital region having very high land prices.

The fortified building is in the name of Vikas Chhokar, son of the Congress MLA from Samalkha.
Activist-complaint claimed that the Panipat district town planner had served a notice to Chhokar on September 13, 2012, but the Samalkha municipality had not initiated any further action.
Kapoor said that he had accessed all relevant records under the RTI.

The first time legislator, Chhokar was elected on a Haryana Janhit Congress ticket in 2009 but after soon after his victory, he joined the Congress along with five other HJC MLAs. Chhokar was instrumental in forming the Congress government under the leadership of Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

As per rules, the complainant is bound to face legal action if his or her complaints made to lokayukta were found wrong by the ombudsman.

Lokayukta has given 45-day time to submit the report to it.

Meanwhile, Kapoor, also an accredited practicing architect at Samalkha town, alleged that the Congress legislator Chhokar had constructed another house in his native town in violation of rules.
This house is also registered in the name of Chhokar's son.

"A notice was served under Haryana Municipal Act, 1973 for alleged illegal construction in January last year. But later, the local authorities, named the area for which the MLA given a notice, as New Durga Colony and a proposal for its regularisation was sent to the state government. However, the same was rejected by the state agencies," he said in the complaint.

Kapoor said that existing Durga Colony was an approved residential area whereas the Samalkha authorities proposed to regularise a new colony named New Durga Colony, which was covering only both "illegal" properties of Chhokar family.

Kapoor said that both of these actions confirm that Chhokar in violation of laid down rules started constructions without approvals while the MC authorities worked to benefit the politician.
"Under normal conditions, illegal constructions are bulldozed by the local authorities. But here, the officials connived and sent a proposal to regularise properties of the MLA even when it was not eligible under the rules," he said.

More allegations

Lokayukta has also ordered detailed inquiry to corroborate that the Samalkha MC worked in a connivance with land mafia.

In his complaint, Kapoor alleged that a locality, Sita Colony, which was approved in 2004 and had an area of 17 acre, the local authorities have shown that the said colony had an area of 72 acres.
He said that while the district town planning authorities had stated demolitions, the MC officials passed fake projects to benefit the illegal colonisers.

Kapoor has charged the Samalkha MC chairperson Sumitra Sharma with running a banquet hall without obtaining CLU and the officials at the municipality had not taken any step against their political boss.

Besides, lokayukta has also marked an inquiry against the Samalkha MC officials including its secretaries Shyam Sundar Duggal and JN Bansal, and building inspectors Dalbeer Singh and Parveen Kaushish for unauthorisidely passing construction plans.

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