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Saturday, 15 August 2020

Lokayukta calls for SIT probe into Samalkha MLA house case

Bhartesh Singh Thakur

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14

Haryana Lokayukta Justice Nawal Kishore Agarwal (retd) has called for an inquiry by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) for fixing the responsibility of officials behind the regularisation of bungalow of Samalkha Congress MLA Dharam Singh Chokker, as single-house colony, against the rules.

RTI Activist PP Kapoor had filed a case against Chokker and officials of the Samalkha local body in 2014.

Chhokar built a house on 0.75 acres (6 kanal) in an unapproved project — 22-acre New Durga Colony — in 2013 when his party was in power in the state. The local authorities had forwarded the Durga Colony case to the urban local bodies for approval, but it was rejected in 2014 as the project didn't fit the regularisation parameters. Following the rejection, the municipal authorities named Chhokar's 6-kanal house as Sai Enclave Colony and re-sent the case to the urban local bodies, which approved it in 2018.

Proposal approved by hook or crook

If the conduct of department of the urban local bodies and the Deputy Commissioners posted in Panipat and the authorities of the Municipal Committee of Samalkha is considered in the light of the entire facts, the situation of the matter, then would be crystal clear that the authorities were bent upon to approve the proposal by hook or crook. —Justice Nawal Kishore Agarwal (retd), Haryana Lokayukta

Interestingly, Chokker's single-house colony got regularised during the BJP regime.

Lokayukta questioned the urgency by the Urban Local Bodies Department as they didn't wait for the final report of SDM Gaurav Kumar, dated February 1, 2019, when the matter was pending before him. Kumar levelled allegations against the urban local bodies department in his reply. He was inquiring into the matter of Sai Enclave on the directions of then DC Panipat.

Chokker in his reply had denied the allegations of any wrongdoing in the regularisaiton. Justice Agarwal said to fix the responsibility of officials a SIT comprising a retired district judge and IAS officer be formed and said based on the findings, steps should be taken to cure the illegalities.

from The Tribune

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