Three ex-CMs unwilling to pay house rent: Govt to HCdehradun Updated: Feb 13, 2018 21:05 IST
Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Narayan Dutt Tiwari and Bhuwan Chandra Khanduri (in photograph) are unwilling to pay rent for the accommodation they had occupied in Dehradun, the state government stated in an affidavit filed before the high court.(HT File)
Three former chief ministers of Uttarakhand — Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Narayan Dutt Tiwari and Bhuwan Chandra Khanduri — are unwilling to pay rent for the accommodation they had occupied in Dehradun, the state government stated in an affidavit filed before the high court.
The government has enclosed the letters sent to the former chief ministers to support its claim and sought the court’s intervention to recover the dues from the ex-CMs.
Responding to the affidavit, the HC division bench, comprising chief justice KM Joseph and justice UC Dhyani, has asked the litigant to file a rejoinder in four weeks.
“The government had filed the affidavit in March last year, but the matter came up for hearing before the court on Monday. We have been asked to submit rejoinder in the due course of time,” Kartikeya Hari Gupta, the counsel for Dehradun-based NGO Rural Litigation for Entitlement Kendra (RLEK), told reporters on Tuesday.
RLEK filed a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging free residence, car, security and other perks to the former chief ministers in 2010.
In an affidavit filed before the court, CS Napalchayal, then secretary (estates department) informed the court that barring former chief ministers Ramesh Pokhriyal and Vijay Bahuguna, the others are yet to pay rent of the government bungalows that they had occupied earlier. The estates department calculated the rent at a flat rate of ₹1,000 to ₹1,200 per month.
The total dues on former chief ministers are less than ₹1.57 lakh, but they are unwilling to pay, Gupta said.
The state witnessed eight chief ministers in the last nine years. Barring first chief minister Nityanand Swami, all others availed government accommodation. ND Tiwari was the longest serving chief minister holding the office between 2002 and 2007. Others are Bhagat Singh Koshyari, BC Khanduri (twice), Ramesh Pokhriyal and Vijay Bahuguna.
In October 2016, the HC instructed ex-CMs to vacate the government bungalows. In February last year, the court ordered the state government “to calculate the market rent for use and occupation of the premises, beyond the period of entitlement, in order to recover the same from the private respondents”.
Avdhash Kaushal, the RLEK chairman, said the NGO will also “request (the) court to recover other dues such as (that incurred) on water and electricity.”
The estates department claimed the fixation of rent has been done as per norms. According to the affidavit, ₹1.43 lakh is pending on Tiwari, ₹1.55 lakh on Koshyari and ₹1.55 lakh on Khanduri.
HT tried to reach out to the former chief ministers against whom the dues are pending. While BC Khanduri and BS Koshyari did not respond to repeated calls, ND Tiwari is admitted to a Delhi hospital. Tiwari had earlier requested the court not to recover the dues from him citing financial inability.