New Delhi: Former education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ has been served a second show cause notice by the Union housing ministry in less than a month for refusing to vacate a bungalow allotted to him when he was minister, ThePrint has learnt.
It has been almost six months since Pokhriyal was dropped from the Modi cabinet, and sources in the housing ministry told ThePrint that the Type-8 Lutyens’ bungalow located near Safdarjung’s Tomb has been allotted to its former occupant, current Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia.
According to the guidelines of the Directorate of Estates (DoE) — the department under the housing ministry responsible for allocating government houses — a former minister must vacate the official bungalow allotted to him when he was minister after a month of leaving office.
But despite repeated reminders, the sources alleged, Pokhriyal continued to cite various reasons for not vacating the bungalow, forcing the housing ministry to issue the show cause notices.
A senior ministry official said Pokhriyal had earlier cited health reasons for not vacating the house. “We have shown other alternative bungalows earmarked for MPs under the general pool but he did not like them,” added the official, who did not want to be named.
ThePrint approached Pokhriyal over the phone and by email for a comment on the issue, but had not yet received a response when this report was published. Housing ministry spokesperson Yogesh Baweja was also approached over the telephone, but he did not respond.
The fresh show cause notice, issued on 3 January to Pokhriyal by Estate Officer Dr D.V. Rao and accessed by ThePrint, reads: “With reference to above case pending against you under subsection (1) of Section 3B of the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act 1971, the case has been fixed on 6 January for a personal hearing.”
The first notice was issued to Pokhriyal on 23 December 2021, asking the former minister to appear at Rao’s office — but he didn’t go.
Pokhriyal, the Lok Sabha MP from Haridwar and a former chief minister of Uttarakhand, headed the ministry of human resource development (renamed the Ministry of Education during his tenure) from 31 May 2019 to 7 July 2021.
Home to 2 generations of Scindias
According to norms, Type-8 bungalows are allotted to serving ministers, Rajya Sabha MPs and senior judicial authorities.
Scindia had lived at the 27 Safdarjung Road bungalow for years as a Congress MP until he lost his seat in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Following this defeat, he tried petitioning the government to be allowed to stay at the house, where his late father and former Union minister Madhavrao Scindia had also lived, when he was a minister in the Rajiv Gandhi cabinet. When this was rejected, Scindia vacated the premises.
After joining the BJP and becoming a Rajya Sabha MP in 2020, Scindia had given his preference for the bungalow to the housing ministry.
(Edited by Rohan Manoj)