Despite the Supreme Court’s stringent guidelines on unauthorised occupation of government bungalows, former Union Ministers S M Krishna, A Raja and Dayanidhi Maran are among 22 erstwhile members of the Manmohan Singh Government, who continue to occupy sprawling official residences here.
According to the details given out by the Union Ministry of Urban Development (UUD), following an RTI filed by activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal other defaulters, include former Railway Ministers P K Bansal, Dinesh Trivedi and Mukul Roy as well as former ministers Vincent H Pala, Palanimanickam, S Jagathrakshakan, S Gandhiselvan, Harish Rawat and C P Joshi.
Raja, who was Union Telecom Minister, has been occupying a Type-VII bungalow on Motital Nehru Marg since 2010, while his former Cabinet colleague Dayanidhi Maran has been staying in a Type-VIII bungalow on Akbar Road since 2011.
However, the UUD list does not include the cases of former Railway Minister Lalu Prasad and former Bihar Governor Buta Singh, who are availing special rent-concession on extended lease of ministerial bungalows against Supreme Court directives.
According to Agarwal, the Supreme Court should ensure compliance of its verdict and political rulers including those in Cabinet Committee of Accommodation (CCA) must not be allowed to bypass its directives in respect of government accommodation and any relaxation granted by the Supreme Court directions should be cleared by the apex court only.
“A big question arises if reasons given by Lalu and Buta for retaining ministerial bungalows that too on special concessional lease-rent are accepted. Can the government provide such palatial residences to common people of this country?” said Agarwal.
Besides constituting a violation of the apex court guidelines, the overstaying by the former ministers in plush state provided accommodation could pose problems for the incoming government as the search for residences to the newly-elected MPs would get under way shortly.
Last year, the apex court had also issued guidelines on unauthorised occupants of government bungalows and called for initiating proceedings for breach of privilege against ministers.