New Delhi: The government on Wednesday asked Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to vacate her bungalow in Lutyens' Delhi within a month, saying she is not entitled to the facility following withdrawal of her SPG protection.
According to an order issued by the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry, Gandhi was asked to vacate her official bungalow by August 1 failing which "it will attract damage charges/penal rent as per rules".
The ministry asked her to also pay the rent for the period she takes to vacate her official accommodation.
The government had in November last year replaced the Special Protection Group (SPG) cover of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her children Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, with Z-plus security by the CRPF.
"Consequent upon withdrawal of SPG protection and grant of Z+ security cover by the Ministry of Home Affairs, which does not have provision for allotment/retention of government accommodation on security grounds to you (Gandhi), the allotment of Type 6B House No. 35, Lodhi Estate, New Delhi is hereby cancelled w.e.f 01/07/2020.
"One month concessional period on the same rent up to August 1 is allowed as per rules," the Directorate of Estates said in its order.
An official said that the Congress general secretary, who is in-charge for Uttar Pradesh,had been allotted the bungalow on February 21, 1997 as she was an SPG protectee.
The Z-plus security does not entail such a facility and she has to vacate 35 Lodhi Estate bungalow, the official said.
The Congress had reacted sharply to the withdrawal of SPG cover to the Gandhi family and had even raised the issue in Parliament.
Senior party leader and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said on Wednesday that the the Union Government should withdraw the cancellation order in the interest of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's security and safety.
"Any compromise on Priyanka's safety could be construed as a political witch-hunt, especially when these orders have come at a time when she has been strongly and unrelentingly criticising the handling of the COVID crisis in Uttar Pradesh, especially the prime minister's parliamentary constituency of Varanasi," the chief minister said.
The official said that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was paying around Rs 37,000 per month as a rent.
"Persons with Z+ security cover are not entitled for the government accommodation. Such exceptions can be made only by the Cabinet Committee on Accommodation based on security assessment by the Ministry of Home Affairs on their recommendation," an official said.
The official also said that the CCA in its meeting held on December 7, 2000 had reviewed the guidelines on allotment of government accommodation on security ground and decided that in future, no private person, other than those who are SPG protectees, will be given such facility on security ground.
"Such allotment were to be done at the market rate - 50 times of normal rent. Later, in July 2003, it was decided to charge special rate of licence fee like 20 times of the normal rent from such allottees," official added.