Can’t pay Rs 53k for 2,765.18 sqm bungalow in Lutyens: Priyanka Gandhi
New Delhi: In yet another revelation that exposes how the Gandhi family misused government machineries time and again for their personal gain, it has been reported that Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka Gandhi had bargained with the government to bring down the rent of her house located in highly posh vicinity of the national capital, the Lutyens Bungalow Zone.
According to a Times of India report, 14-year-ago she had made a tough negotiation with the then NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee to pare down the monthly rent for her 2,765.18 sqm bungalow from Rs 53,421 to Rs 8,888.
At that time, an RTI reply said, Priyanka had in May 2002 written a letter to government arguing that ‘it was beyond her capacity to pay the hiked amount from Rs 28,451 to Rs 53,421’. Priyanka had mentioned that she was occupying the bungalow on the request of the SPG and that a large part of the bungalow was used by the security officials and not by her family. Therefore, Priyanka requested that the rent be pared down and she be allowed to 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.
Besides Priyanka, three others - former Punjab DGP KPS Gill, All India Anti-Terrorist Front chief MS Bitta and Punjab Kesari editor Ashwani Kumar, who were provided accommodation by the government on security grounds, raised similar concerns. All four continued paying the same rent despite the increase, which resulted in an increase of Priyanka’s outstanding dues of Rs 3.76 lakh up to in January 2004.
The report said that a note from the Cabinet Committee on Accommodation on July 8, 2003, accepted Priyanka’s argument that she was occupying the government bungalow as per policy of the government (due to security purpose) and hence she is unable to pay the rent as per the market rate.
The special licence fee, the note mentioned, was then revised to Rs 8,888 per month for Priyanka. Also the rent for remaining 3 other was brought down. While Gill’s monthly rent was slashed from Rs 60,741 to Rs 10,715, for Bitta it was revised to Rs 10,203 from Rs 55,536 and for Kumar from Rs 50,311 to Rs 8,555.
Priyanka is the occupant of a government bungalow - 35, Lodhi Estate. It is also the official address of Robert Vadra in his legal documents. As per the official website of Directorate of Estates, Ministry of Urban Development, this type-6B accommodation was allotted to Priyanka on February 21, 1997 at Rs 19,990 per month. The registration number is 99907375 and the allotment ID is 243820.