Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar

NEW DELHI: Investigations by the Delhi Tribunal set up under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, into the case of the Cambridge-educated expert in law, women’s studies and human rights Lotika Sarkar have revealed that besides her, there was another “foster mother” acquired by senior IPS officer N. C. Dhoundiyal.

Like Prof. Lotika Sarkar, this other foster mother too was childless and a widow. And like Prof. Sarkar, she too was a professor, a very rich woman, and one who had purportedly executed a will in his favour.

On learning of this other “foster mother” of the IPS officer, who has been accused of cheating the octogenarian Prof. Sarkar, the Tribunal has sent out a letter to the office of the District Magistrate of Allahabad seeking “complete details pertaining to the assets and properties of Prof. (Retd.) Uma Rao (Department of History, Allahabad University) and the manner in which the same have been sold, transferred and disposed, if any, in the city of Allahabad either by her or through her so-called `foster son’.”

The New Delhi District Tribunal has directed that this report should cover details also relating to sale or purchase of her properties as per Corporation and Sub-Registrar’s records.

Apparently the husband of Prof. Rao was a senior IAS officer and belonged to a rich family from Andhra Pradesh.

The matter of Prof. Rao came to light when Inspector Virender Jain, who is the Station House Officer of the Fatehpur Beri police station in South Delhi, told the Tribunal that in the course of his investigation he had also gone to Allahabad twice and investigated details pertaining to Prof. Uma Rao who was also stated to be the foster mother of N. C. Dhoundial.

“She was also found to be childless and a widow. She had died at the residence of N. C. Dhoundial in Ranchi where he was posted,” he had told the Tribunal.

Noting that the Inspector had stated that no details of assets pertaining to Prof. Uma Rao given to N. C. Dhoundiyal had come to his notice, the Tribunal said when it asked who Prof. Rao was, “N. C. Dhoundial replied that she was also his foster mother and died childless at his residence. He confirmed that Prof. Uma Rao, his other foster mother, had also executed a will in his favour.”

When asked to present a copy of the will, Dhoundial said he had lost it but had not registered an FIR reporting the purported loss. He had also not intimated the Government about Prof. Uma Rao being his foster mother since “the same was not necessary”.

Finding a “predictable pattern” emerging, the complainant NGO in the Lotika Sarkar case demanded that a report be sought from the SDM (Allahabad) to arrive at a complete picture.

This was objected to by Dhoundial on the ground that this Tribunal had no jurisdiction over the case of Prof. Uma Rao being his other foster mother as the events and circumstances relating to her occurred in Allahabad and Ranchi over which the Tribunal lacks jurisdiction.

However, the Tribunal – comprising presiding officer and ADM A.V. Prem Nath and Members C. P. Gupta and N. N. Dewan -- overruled this objection and has sought a report from SDM Allahabad within three weeks in the interest of justice and unravelling the complete truth.