Lokpal to get permanent office at World Trade Centre in Delhi, office space bought for ₹ 254 cr.

On March 19, 2019, Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghosh was appointed as India’s first Lokpal along with eight other members

May 03, 2022 05:19 pm | Updated 05:19 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Four years after the country’s first anti-corruption ombudsman to investigate complaints against public functionaries, including the Prime Minister, was appointed and almost a decade after the Act was passed by Parliament, the Lokpal of India will finally move into a swanky office at World Trade Centre in south Delhi’s Nauroji Nagar. Spread over an area of 59,504 square feet, the office comprising two floors, has been purchased for ₹254.88 crore, according to the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), the administrative Ministry for the Lokpal.

On March 19, 2019, Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghosh was appointed as India’s first Lokpal along with eight other members. The appointment itself was made five years after the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act was passed in 2013 to investigate cases of corruption against certain categories of public servants.

Before the BJP came to power in 2014, the appointment of Lokpal was one of its major poll planks.

According to the 2020-21 annual report of the Lokpal of India, in the beginning it functioned from a temporary office at the Ashok Hotel in Chanakyapuri.

“Later, the Department of Legal Affairs provided a part of the erstwhile ICADR Building in Vasant Kunj Institutional Area, Phase- II, New Delhi, on rent. The office of the Lokpal of India commenced its operations from the new office building with effect from 14 February, 2020. However, this office space is not sufficient for the proper functioning of the office and efforts are, therefore, being made to have a permanent office of the Lokpal of India,” the report said.

Non-availability of land

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs was approached for providing a suitable piece of land for the construction of a permanent office and “they have informed that no suitable land is available for allotment.” Due to non-availability of land, the office of Lokpal proposed to procure built-up office space from the National Buildings Construction Corporation (India) Limited at the World Trade Centre, Nauroji Nagar, it stated.

On March 25, a meeting of the Delegated Investment Board (DIB) “appraised and approved the proposal for acquisition of office space measuring 59,504 sq. ft. of super built area (44830 sq. ft. carpet area) comprising two floors (A-400 and A-500) at World Trade Centre, Nauroji Nagar, New Delhi at a cost of 254.88 crore through the e-Auction mode from the NBCC,” the DoPT’s monthly achievement report for March said.

The Lokpal can inquire into allegations of corruption against anyone who is or has been Prime Minister, or a Minister in the Union government, or a Member of Parliament, as well as officials of the Union government under Groups A, B, C and D. The body also covers complaints against chairpersons, members, officers and directors of any board, corporation, society, trust or autonomous body either established by an Act of Parliament or wholly or partly funded by the Centre and any society or trust or body that receives foreign contribution above ₹10 lakh.

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