Only five VIPs in government housing under discretionary quota

New Delhi : The government Monday told the Supreme Court that just five people were in occupation of VIP bungalows in the capital under the five percent discretionary quota. They include RJD chief Lalu Prasad, late Congress leaders Sisram Ola and Arjun Singh’s widows and the house once occupied by late prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao.

Lalu Prasad, who was to vacate his government accommodation by Oct 31, is in unauthorised occupation, while two others will vacate in January and February, the court was told.

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A bench of Chief Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice A.K. Sikri was told by Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar that of 300 accommodations under Type 7 and 8 category, the government could allot 15 of them under the five percent discretionary quota available to it.

The solicitor general informed the court that Narasimha Rao’s son would vacate the accommodation Jan 3, and the widow of Sisram Ola would vacate in February.

He said that in the case of Arjun Singh’s widow, the previous Congress-led government had allotted it for two years that would end in 2016.

The court was told this during the hearing of a suo motu reference on the indiscriminate misuse of power by a minister or secretary to allow certain individuals to overstay in government accommodation.

The hearing relates to the court taking cognizance of a letter written by former CAG Vinod Rai on the illegal occupation of government accommodation.

Rai had written the letter July 18. It was based on a media report which said 22 former ministers and bureaucrats were in unauthorised occupation of government accommodation.

Concluding the proceedings, the apex court told amicus curiae Meenakshi Arora that from the government response, it appeared that there was no alarming unauthorised occupation of government accommodation, nor was there any indiscriminate misuse of powers either by the minister or secretary of the urban development ministry.