New Delhi, May 8 : A day after alleging that renovation work at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence cost Rs 171 crore and not Rs 45 crore, Congress leader Ajay Maken on Monday wrote to Lieutenant Governor V.K. Saxena, requesting his immediate intervention to ensure that public money is not misused and to initiate a probe into the matter.
In the three-page letter to the L-G, Maken, who is a former Union minister, said, “I’m writing to express my deep concern and disappointment regarding the extravagant expenditure, environmental damage, and violation of heritage protection and zonal plans involved in the construction of the Chief Minister’s residence in Delhi.”
In the letter, the Congress leader alleged that the construction of the new CM House has cost the exchequer around Rs 171 crore, including the relocation of 22 officers’ bungalows, with 15 out of 22 houses adjacent to CM’s house on Flagstaff Road being demolished or being vacated.
He said that this figure includes around Rs 126 crore spent on purchasing 21 new Type 5 flats in CWG Village to compensate for the housing shortage.
Alleging violation of Master Plan Delhi (MPD) 2021, Maken said, “The new CM House has been constructed in the Civil Lines Old Bungalow Zone, an area protected under MPD 2021. The previous residence was a single-storey colonial-style building, which has been replaced by a three-storey structure with a basement (B+G+1+2) with a covered area of around 20,000 sq ft (almost double the previous covered area). This construction directly contradicts the MPD 2021 provisions, which aim to preserve the heritage and character of Lutyen’s Bungalow Zone and Civil Lines Old Bungalow Zone.”
He also cited damage to environment due to removal of 28 full-grown trees, which contradicts the provisions of MPD 2021 that emphasise the importance of preserving green cover in these protected zones.
The Congress leader alleged that work orders were seemingly split by PWD to keep them below Rs 10 crore, with the intent to avoid approval of the secretary/principal secretary, PWD (for works amounting to more than Rs 10 crore).
“This was allegedly done by engineers of PWD in collusion with then PWD Minister Satyendar Jain, as required by the delegation of financial powers,” he said.
He also alleged lack of concurrence from the finance department, deviations in procurement procedure and circumventing municipal laws and deceiving the Legislative Assembly.
“In light of these concerns, I kindly request your immediate intervention to address these issues and ensure that public money is not misused, environmental damage is minimised, and heritage protection and zonal plans are strictly adhered to in future development projects. Upholding the principles of transparency, accountability, and responsible governance is crucial for the betterment of our society and for safeguarding the interests of the citizens.
“I thus request you to conduct an inquiry into the above points. And if found guilty, grant sanction for prosecution of the principal beneficiary, the Chief Minister, and the principal perpetrator, then PWD Minister of GNCTD,” Maken said.