Congress on tough wicket : Party treasurer Vora in dock for nine government houses in Lutyens'

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Motilal vora
Congress party is at its worst time these days. Right from National Herald case to Natwar Singh's book controversy and infighting within party, the Gandhi family's cup of woes will not get over any time soon, it seems.

Adding to these, this report will further rub salt on Congress's and mainly its president Sonia Gandhi's wounds.

It has been revealed that Congress treasurer Motilal Vora, who is also in dock for his role in National Herald case, has nine government accommodations in Luytens' Delhi. 

Motilal Vora has nine Government accommodations?
Though officially he has been allotted house number 33 in Lodhi Estate, but through the RTI, it has come to light that he has possessed six more bungalows and two government flats in posh North and South Avenue.

And this has been even confirmed by Rajya Sabha secretariat in response to an RTI query.According to the India today report, bungalows 49, 63, 78 and 112 in North Avenue and bungalow numbers 49 and 139 in South Avenue are under the name of Congress' treasurer.

Apart from these bungalows, flat numbers 124 and 507 in Vithalbhai Patel House is also within his possession.

Who stays in these bungalows?
Former MPs KC Lenka, Dwijender Nath Sharma and various party workers from Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh are currently living in these bungalows as Vohra's guests.

According to House Committee rule, MPs can rent out accommodations, but only for a specific duration.

According to the DNA report, most of the guests who are enjoying a status of guest in these houses are those who had to vacate their official houses after decimation in Lok Sabha poll.

Meanwhile when asked about this report, Vohra rejected and said that he has only 78 North Avenue and 139 South Avenue allotted in his name.

16 UPA Ministers were served notice
Last week only, Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu had informed parliament that sixteen former ministers of the UPA government are staying unauthorized in government bungalows and they have been served eviction notices.

The Minister also said that these former ministers owe a total damage charges of Rs 20,92,463 for one month of unauthorised stay.

Who all are the defaulters?
Senior Congress leaders including Jaipal Reddy, Ajit Singh, Krishna Tirath, Sachin Pilot, MM Palam Raju, Girija Vyas, Farooq Abdullah, Beni Prasad Varma, Kapil Sibal and Srikant Jena are among 16 former ministers who have not vacated their accommodation till date.

Another 21 former ministers are also staying in General Pool Bungalows and they have been given 15 days' time to move into their entitled accommodation to be provided by respective House Committees.

SC had ruled that bungalows must be vacated within a month

In July 2013, the Supreme Court had said that these bungalows are to be vacated within a month of ceasing to be minister in power.

The judgement of the Supreme Court had said: "Since allotment of government accommodation is a privilege given to ministers and members of Parliament, the matter of unauthorized retention should be intimated to the Speaker/Chairman of the House and action should be initiated by the House committee for breach of privilege which an MP/Minister enjoys and appropriate committee should recommend to the Speaker/Chairman for taking appropriate action/eviction within a time-bound period."

Last Month only, the apex court had asked for an explanation from central government about this rampant overstaying in official bungalows by former ministers, ex-MPs and retired bureaucrats.

The court had taken this stand in response to a letter by former CAG Vinod Rai. Rai had named 22 Ex-Ministers including Lalu Prasad, A. Raja, S.M. Krishna, Mukul Roy and Pawan Kumar Bansal, who were illegally occupying government accommodation.

Another blow to Beleaguered Congress
Already battered by recent spate of events, Congress president Sonia Gandhi has much to answer now.

As assembly election is due in States like J & K, Maharashtra and Haryana, Congress really is on tough wicket as controversy is not getting over for the party.

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