As many as 36 former Union Ministers from across the political spectrum are yet to vacate the bungalows that were allotted to them in their capacity as Ministers even after demitting office.
The Directorate of Estates of the Union Ministry of Urban Development has revealed this in reply to a query filed under the Right to Information Act by activist Subhash Agrawal.
Incidentally, some of these leaders are also Members of Parliament and, therefore, eligible for government accommodation, but not type VII and VIII accommodation that is reserved only for Ministers and officers of the rank of Secretary.
The Directorate has also included the names of Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, and Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, in the list, even though both BJP leaders are eligible for bungalows entitled to Cabinet Ministers. Ms. Swaraj currently occupies 8, Safdurjung Lane, a type VII bungalow.
Also in the list of defaulters are Congress leader Ashwani Kumar, Pawan Kumar Bansal, Ambika Soni, Saifuddin Soz, Mukul Wasnik, Ajay Maken, and Vincent H. Pala. BJP’s M. Venkaiah Naidu, Yashwant Sinha, L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Maneka Gandhi and Ravi Shankar Prasad, too, find their names on the list.
“The primary responsibility for allotment of accommodation to the MPs rests with the House Committee [the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha Secretariat] concerned. As per existing guidelines, former Union Ministers who continue to be sitting MPs are allowed retention of their Ministerial accommodation till they are allotted their entitled category of accommodation from the House Committee concerned,” the Directorate has said in reply to the query.
Mr. Agrawal had asked for names of former Union Ministers and government officials who continue to retain government accommodations even after their tenure got over.