Don’t want issue to get embroiled in procedural wrangles: Justice Sarin

In a case of alleged land grabbing by a media house, Delhi Lokayukta Manmohan Sarin has in his order noted that “it is necessary that in such cases the administration should act with candour and promptitude to dispel the impression that the rigours of law do not apply to those who are in power positions or who exercise influence”.

Justice Sarin made the observation while hearing a case filed by one Rajesh Garg against a Delhi Minister and a former Delhi BJP president, who were accused of coming to the aid of the media house in the alleged land encroachment case.

The Lokayukta said Sanjeev Mittal, Director (Lands) of Delhi Development Authority, had submitted a status report stating that the programme for removal of encroachment had been returned by the Director (Land Management) of DDA on the ground that the demolition order on prescribed format and with all details, and approved by the Commissioner (Land Development), be sent.

In the status report, Mr. Mittal also submitted that the building activities in the area in question have been transferred to North Delhi Municipal Corporation in 1988.

Stating that “it is necessary that this matter does not get embroiled in the quagmire of procedural wrangles and technicalities between the Director (Land Disposal) and Director (Land Management) of DDA”, the Lokayukta directed that the Principal Secretary (LD) and Principal Secretary (LM) in DDA “set the house in order and the procedural objections, which even otherwise appear to be untenable are removed”.

Justice Sarin said as a matter of abundant caution and to prevent complications from cropping up, the Deputy Commissioner of North Delhi Municipal Corporation should also be involved in the meeting with the two Principal Commissioners “so that a concerted action plan can be decided and acted upon”.

The Lokayukta also pulled up North Delhi Municipal Corporation stating that it is also “distressing” that while it had claimed to have checked and rechecked the position and the building activities of the area and had stated that the building activities of the area had not been transferred to it, today it “finds itself on a false wicket”.

The Lokayukta said the complainant also noted that the encroachment by the media house existed on a plot which was meant for allotment to an institute of printing technology and was never allotted to the media house.

The complainant also noted that the Public Works Department, while removing encroachments had not removed the blockage which would have provided access from PWD Road to the Ring Road. The Lokayukta said he also mentioned that “there are some encroachments in the form of certain idols and a makeshift temple put up by Punjab Kesri Group on the road”.

The Lokayukta said counsel for PWD, Vivek Tandon, will look into the issue “to ensure that there is no blockage, as PWD is committed to removing encroachments on the road”.

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