Delhi Jal Board ex-official, vigilance special secretary trade complaints over bungalow case

Jun 05, 2023 06:01 AM IST

Udit Prakash Rai alleges that a biased inquiry is being conducted against him, while YVVJ Rajasekhar said Rai forged annual performance assessment reports.

Former Delhi Jal Board (DJB) chief executive officer and 2007 batch IAS officer of the Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre, Udit Prakash Rai, who is currently serving as secretary to the Mizoram government, has filed a series of complaints against Delhi vigilance special secretary YVVJ Rajasekhar, alleging that a “biased inquiry” is being conducted against him in the Jal Vihar bungalow case, and that his family was being subjected to harassment.

The Jal Vihar bungalow at the heart of the tussle. (Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)
The Jal Vihar bungalow at the heart of the tussle. (Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)

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Rajasekhar, in turn, has filed a police complaint against Rai at the IP Estate police station, alleging forgery in annual performance assessment reports.

The Jal Vihar bungalow case refers to the April 26 show-cause notice issued by the vigilance department to Rai for allegedly demolishing a monument dating back to the 15th century to build a double-storey bungalow in its place in 2021-22, when he was still the DJB chief executive.

The monument in question finds a mention in the Archaeological Survey of India’s (ASI) list of Muhammadan and Hindu monuments, prepared in 1922, and is identified as Mahal, built during the Sayyid rule in Delhi.

On May 30, the vigilance department issued a second notice to Rai, asking him to furnish a reply to the April 26 notice “without fail”.

On May 31, a joint team, comprising officials from the vigilance and archaeological departments, and the DJB, among others, visited the bungalow for an assessment but found it locked, and returned without conducting the inspection.

Rai’s family continues to occupy the house.

Rai said that he has not received any such notice directly or through the Mizoram government, adding that sensitive information is being leaked to malign his image.

In his complaint dated May 30, addressed to the lieutenant governor, chief minister, and ministry of home affairs, among others, Rai requested that the inquiry should be entrusted to “any neutral officer of the secretary rank who can impartially go into the merit of the case.”

He alleged there is a sense of insecurity among his family members and unknown people have been roaming around his house taking pictures.

HT has seen a copy of the complaint.

Rai said he retained the house according to prevalent rules, and that “almost 20 such residential accommodations of DJB have been occupied by various Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar, Lakshadweep, Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli Civil Services (DANICS) officers and IAS officers of the AGMUT cadre, none of whom are working for DJB” and many officers are “working outside Delhi and still retaining their house”.

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Meanwhile, Rai’s wife Shilpi filed a police complaint on May 30, alleging that she was being stalked by unknown people.

A senior Delhi Police officer said Shilpi Rai’s complaint was received at the Lajpat Nagar police station. “Prima facie, it does not appear to have any mens rea. What is a crime if a government servant serves notice to someone? But we are scrutinising the content of the complaint. If something is wrong, we will take appropriate legal action. Till now, no FIR has been lodged,” said the officer, asking not to be named.

Rai filed another complaint on June 1, alleging that he was receiving show-cause notices “in order to get the house vacated from him and get the same allocated to a very senior officer of DJB”, and filed another complaint on June 2, requesting that the probe officer be replaced by a neutral officer.

The lieutenant governor’s secretariat did not respond to HT’s queries seeking comments.

However, a Delhi government official, requesting anonymity, said, “We have received the complaint (from Rai). The details of the complaint are being looked into. We will take appropriate action upon it accordingly.”

Responding to HT’s queries, Rajsekhar on Sunday denied the allegations and said that the investigation was documentary evidence-based, and the vigilance department was being “forcefully” prevented from conducting the investigation.

The special secretary said in a statement, “Everything (in this case) is as per records. Even the Union cabinet ministers’ residence is much smaller than this (house). It was already confirmed by a joint inspection report that the medieval heritage monument was demolished. The department tried to conduct an inspection in the presence of the officer but he locked his home and did not allow the inspection. It has to be seen whether the officer has constructed more than what was mentioned in NIT (notice inviting tender).”

He added, “This officer was appointed as CEO DJB though he was not eligible to hold the assignment. The officer, if innocent, can allow independent bodies like INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) inspection... Secondly, DJB already gave a notice to vacate this building... In case, the officer does not give a response the department proposes to go as per records filed by the joint inspection report.”

Separately, Rajasekhar also filed a police complaint against Rai at the IP Estate police station, alleging that the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) in July 2022 informed the Delhi government of discrepancies in annual performance assessment reports from April 2017 to October 2017, October 2017 to March 2018, and April 2019 to July 2019.

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A senior police officer said that the complaint has been received but an FIR has not been registered in the case. “We are looking into the complaint and will take action if needed,” the officer said.

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