About 35 Indian Police Service (IPS) officers owe a cumulative fine of ₹3.82 crores to the Maharashtra government for squatting in government accommodation beyond their tenure, revealed an RTI filed by the Indian Express. The list of violators includes serving and retired high ranking officers.
An official of the Maharashtra government informed that IPS officers are supposed to vacate their government accommodation within three months of their transfer from one Commissionerate or district to another. During the period, they are expected to shift their families to new accommodation. If an IPS officer fails to do so, he is charged a license fee for the following 3 months. Any further stay invites a penal charge along with the license fee.
Indian Express reported that the license fee might vary from ₹120-₹1400 per month, depending upon the size of the government accommodation. However, the penal rent is extremely high and can go up to ₹1,50,000 for a 1000 sq. ft accommodation. The RTI has revealed that the cumulative fine (both licence and penal) incurred by the 35 IPS officers stand at ₹3.82 crores until end of March 2021. The list includes two former Mumbai Police Commissioners, 4 serving Police Commissioners, 2 Additional Director-Generals and an ex-Director General of Police.
Top 7 defaulting IPS officers owe more than ₹20 lac each
As per the RTI, DIG Sanjay Kumar Baviskar owes the highest fine of ₹75.77 lac for overstaying at a 1046 sq. ft apartment between Mid 2011 to October 2020. Similarly, DCP Dr Mahesh Patil incurred a fine of ₹33.77 lacs for overstaying at a 1000 sq. ft apartment in Mumbai until June 2019, despite his transfer in May 2016. Ex-IPS officers Surinder Kumar, Dhananjay Kamalkar, and Bipin Bihari owe the Maharastra government fines to the tune of ₹25.78 lacs, ₹22.82 lacs, ₹20.29 lacs respectively, as per the Indian Express report.
Moreover, Panjabrao Ugale (Anti-Corruption Bureau SP) owes ₹20.77 lacs while deceased ex-Mumbai Commissioner Dhananjay Jadhav owed ₹20.16 lacs. In total, the top seven defaulters individually owe/owed more than 20 lacs to the Maharashtra government. Other IPS officers such as Nisar Tamboli, Quaiser Khalid, Ankush Shinde, Dattatreya Shinde, Dr. Pradnya Saravade owe ₹16.91 lacs, ₹15.05 lacs, ₹11.56 lacs, ₹8.03 lacs, and ₹8.26 lacs respectively.
Special Inspector General of Police Brijesh Singh owes ₹6.48 lacs while ADG (Anti Corruption Bureau) VinayKumar Choubey owes ₹5.05 lacs. Ex IPS officer Sunil Praraskar and Pratap Dighavkar owes ₹16.71 and ₹3.93 respectively. Thane Police Commissioner Jaijeet Singh is yet to shell out ₹1.51 lacs while Police Commissioner (Pimpri Chinchwad) Krishna Prakash did not pay ₹2.43 lacs as of yet. Several of the IPS officers have cited lack of knowledge, personal reasons when confronted about not paying dues. Others have declined to comment on the matter.
Ex-BJP MP denies claims of overstaying
Ex-Mumbai CP and former BJP MP from Baghpat, Dr Satya Pal Singh reportedly owes ₹12.94 lacs to the government as per the RTI reply. The BJP MP said, “I never overstayed in any government quarters. It was perhaps some mistake on the part of the department which might have been calculated when I was posted outside Mumbai. I stayed in Police Quarters which was free and not in Government general pool. The license fees were waived off when Shri R R Patil was the Home Minister. It should be in Home Department records.”