DJB suspends two engineers in Jal Vihar monument demolition case
The suspension orders were issued on Monday to a chief engineer and an executive engineer associated with the water utility
The Delhi Jal Board (DJB) has suspended two senior officials in connection with the construction of a bungalow by demolishing a 15th century monument at Jal Vihar in south-east Delhi, people aware of the matter said on Tuesday.
A senior government official confirmed that suspension orders were issued on Monday to a chief engineer and an executive engineer associated with the water utility.
“The vigilance department had recommended action against the two officials. An inquiry has found that the two engineers failed to act in accordance with provisions while the demolition of the heritage structure was taking place. NCCSA (National Capital Civil Services Authority) had recommended action against these officials on July 28,” the official said, adding that three more DJB officials are under the scanner in connection with the case.
The case involves Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Udit Prakash Rai, who served as the chief executive officer of DJB between October 18, 2021 and May 31, 2022. Rai allegedly demolished the Jal Vihar monument to build a new government accommodation in its place, to move in as DJB’s then CEO.
The monument in question, identified as a Mahal, was built during the Sayyid rule in Delhi and finds a mention in Archaeological Survey of India’s list of Muhammadan and Hindu monuments prepared in the 20th century.
According to the ASI listing, the structure was made of brick masonry and red sandstone, and consisted of three arched courtyards on the north and south, each flanked by two compartments at either wing.
On April 26, Delhi’s vigilance department issued a show cause notice to Rai for allegedly demolishing the monument. The vigilance notice said that following a visit in January 2021, the department of archaeology wrote to DJB, seeking possession of the monument and a gateway for conservation. When the department returned to the site in January this year, it found that the monument had vanished.
Later in June, Rai filed a series of complaints, alleging that a “biased inquiry” was being conducted against him, and that his family was being subjected to harassment.
Rai, a 2007-batch IAS officer, was suspended by the Union ministry of home affairs on July 31 in connection with the case.