IG probing badals’ buses occupying govt house ‘illegally’

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Old 04-Oct-2011
IG probing badals’ buses occupying govt house ‘illegally’

Patiala October 4:

Sham Lal Gakhar, the Inspector General of Police attached with Punjab Lokpal, has been “illegally” occupying the government accommodation for nearly 10 months now in Patiala.

Repeated notices by Punjab PWD B & R, eviction order and even warrant of possession have been futile to get the house vacated from the IG. Gakhar was recently entrusted with an inquiry against Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal by Punjab Lokpal in connection with “illegal” plying of private air-conditioned buses from Punjab to Union Territory of Chandigarh, after a complaint by lawyer Arvind Thakur.

Revenue officials including a kanungo and patwari and PWD B&R Estate Officer Amarjit Singh today went to the house in question with a warrant of possession issued by Collector Patiala Sub Division, but could do little to take possession as a posse of cops stood guard at the residence of the IG. The warrant of possession was issued on August 30. “We have assessed the situation today. There could be clash when we try to take the possession of the house. So, we would inform the court about this and would request that a duty magistrate should accompany us along with police to take possession of the house,” said Estate Officer Amarjit Singh.

“Sham Lal Gakhar was transferred as IG with Lokpal from DIG Commando Bahadurgarh on September 29, 2010. As per law, he could have retained the house for a maximum period of two months after his transfer. Despite sending repeated notices, he did not vacate the house. Then an eviction order was issued in June 2011 and order of possession in August 2011,” Singh said, calculating the penal rent up to March 2011 as Rs. 7.87 lakh. “The monthly penal rent comes out to be 1.93 lakh and by now the total penal rent has increased all the more,” Singh said.

This is not the first time that Sham Lal Gakhar is accused of “illegal” possession of the house. In the past, when he was SP Patiala, he had occupied a rest house of irrigation department, which later became his house for years together before he finally vacated that, “without paying any rent”. “I do not know exactly know how many years, but he forcibly stayed there for more than five years for sure. He did not pay any rent for the stay,” said Irrigation Branch Patiala Superintending Engineer Hardavinder Singh Sandhu.

When contacted, Gakhar claimed that his appeal for seeking extension of allowing him to stay at the official residence of Patiala IG was “pending with the Patiala divisional commissioner”. “I have also applied for a kothi at Chandigarh. Had I been allotted a house there, I would have vacated the one at Patiala by now,” IG added. About his stay at irrigation rest house, Gakhar said, “The family of a police official need a home after all. After working in trouble torn district of Tarn Taran during militancy, I was transferred to Patiala as SP. Then I was transferred to other places in Punjab. My family and kids needed a home. And, moreover, we had maintained the house well.”

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