The Narendra Modi-led Central Government on Wednesday asked Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to vacate her sprawling 2,765 sq m bungalow in Lutyens Delhi within a month, saying she is not entitled to the facility following the withdrawal of her SPG protection.
According to an order issued by the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry, Gandhi was asked to vacate her official bungalow by August 1 failing which "it will attract damage charges/penal rent as per rules".
"Consequent upon withdrawal of SPG protection and grant of Z+ security cover by the Ministry of Home Affairs, which does not have provision for allotment/retention of government accommodation on security grounds to you (Gandhi), the allotment of Type 6B House No. 35, Lodhi Estate, New Delhi is hereby cancelled w.e.f 01/07/2020," the order said.
"One month concessional period on the same rent up to August 1 is allowed as per rules," the Directorate of Estates said in its order.
As per records, she has accumulated Rs 3,46,677 dues as on June 30, 2020. She has been issued notice to clear dues and rent for the period till she vacates the accommodation.
Meanwhile, it may come as a surprise to many but Priyanka Gandhi paid a meagre Rs 8,800 rent for the bungalow during the Vajpayee government.
The house was allotted to her in 1997 and the then rent was Rs 19,900 a month. It was reviewed and increased periodically. In 2002, the monthly rent was doubled from Rs 28,451 to Rs 53,421. However, on May 7, 2002, she wrote to the government and said that Rs 53,421 was "beyond her paying capacity". She requested that she may "continue to pay rent at the earlier rate of Rs 28,451 per month, instead of the increased rate of Rs 53,421 per month". After reviewing, the special licence fee was brought down to Rs 8,800 from July 24, 2003, revealed an RTI.
According to a 2016 TOI report, Gandhi was then paying Rs 31,300 for her government accommodation.
As per the latest updates, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was paying around Rs 37,000 per month as rent, an official told PTI.
Meanwhile, Congress leaders slammed the Centre after Priyanka Gandhi was asked to vacate her accommodation within a month.
Taking to Twitter, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, "PM, Sh. Narendra Modi & his Govt are blinded by rage, hatred and revenge against the Congress leadership. Unnerved by political activism of Priyanka ji in UP, Modi Govt has stopped even further by issuing house vacation notice. Such frustrated attempts will not deter us."
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has urged the Union Government to withdraw the cancellation orders in the interest of her security and safety. "Political considerations and differences cannot and should not be allowed to come in the way of ensuring fool-proof security and safety of any person, especially when that persons belongs to a family that had lost two members to terror attacks," said Captain Amarinder.
(With input from Agencies)