The Centre has issued an eviction notice to the Congress party, instructing them to vacate the accommodation in New Delhi’s Chanakyapuri in the Lutyens’ Bungalow Zone which was occupied by Sonia Gandhi’s secretary Vincent George.
Notably, even though V George no longer resides at C-II/109 Chanakyapuri, the bungalow is still owned by the Congress party. The last rent paid for the property was in the year 2013. The total unpaid rent since then amounts to a whopping Rs 3.08 crore.
The Directorate of Estates (DoE), part of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, stated in the eviction notice dated March 25 that the bungalow in the posh area had been under “unauthorised occupation” and thus should be vacated.
It further said that in February, a notice was sent by the Central government to the Congress party to pay the pending rent and dues for three properties including the Congress office, Sonia Gandhi’s official residence, and this palatial bungalow which is occupied by her secretary.
The notice also stated that the directorate cancelled the allotment for the accommodation in June 2013.
The Directorate of Estates (DoE) has given three business days to the Congress party to respond to the notice. The central department has also requested the party to appear in person to explain why an eviction order should not be issued.
The eviction notice sent to the Congress party read:
“Whereas, I, the undersigned, am of the opinion on the grounds specified below that you are in unauthorized occupation of the Public Premises mentioned in the SCHEDULE below and that you should be evicted from the said premises…You have been continuing to occupy Public Premises as specified in the SCHEDULE below even after its allotment stands cancelled w.c.f. 26-06-2013 vide letter No. 7/259/94-TS dated 22.01.2015 issued by the Die. of Estates.“
“Now. therefore, in pursuance of sub-section (1) of Section 3B of the Public Premises Act. 1971, I hereby call upon you to show cause within 3 working days at 02:30 P.M. for personal hearing as to why an order of eviction should not be made. You may appear before me in person or through a duly authorized representative capable to answer all material questions connected with the matter along with the evidence which you intend to produce in support of the cause. In case, you fail to show cause and/ or appear within the stipulated time, the case will be decided ex parte.”
Earlier in 2015, The Urban Development Ministry had asked the All India Congress Committee to vacate the possession of 26 Akbar Road, C-II/109 Chanakyapuri and two other properties. Letter to the General Secretary, AICC said that the allotments for the above properties were already cancelled in June 2013 after allowing a concessional period of three years.
RTI reveals Congress has not paid rent for Lutyens Delhi bungalows for almost a decade
In February 2022, a reply to an RTI application had revealed that Sonia Gandhi and the Congress party have not paid rent dues for three properties held by them in Lutyens’ Delhi since 2013.
According to the response to the RTI application by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), the dues for 10, Janpath were last paid in September 2020 the monthly rent accounted for the same is Rs. 4610/- only. For the 26, Akbar Road bungalow which is a type VIII property next to Congress’ headquarters at 24, Akbar Road, the monthly rent for which is more than Rs. 12 lakh has not been cleared since December 2012. The Bungalow in Chanakyapuri which is used as a residence has been in possession of the Congress Party with a monthly rent of Rs. 5,07,911/-. Dues for the same have not been deposited since August 2013.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra clears unpaid rent for her Lutyens’ bungalow after government sends her a notice to vacate the house
Interestingly, Sonia Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka Gandhi had also only last year cleared her pending dues of Rs 3,46,677 for the government accommodation at 35, Lodhi Estate in Delhi after she was asked to vacate it. She was continuing to live there despite the removal of the SPG cover in November 2020.