The office of the speaker of the Lok Sabha, Meira Kumar, has denied that she violated rules by staying in two bungalows in the national capital.
Reacting to reports about Kumar having occupied the 6 Krishna Menon Marg bungalow – where her late father, former deputy prime minister Jagjivan Ram lived – and her official bungalow, the speaker claims that the family members of late Indrani Devi (her mother) had vacated the Krishna Menon marg bungalow in November 2002 and had informed the relevant authorities accordingly.
Earlier this month, the directorate of estates informed an RTI activist that Kumar owed Rs2 crore as rent for the bungalow that had been allotted to her father. The directorate had passed eviction orders against Kumar twice in the last two decades, before the union cabinet reqularised the matter, the activist was informed.
Ram, a veteran Congressman, had lived in the bungalow for several decades. After his death, the Rajiv Gandhi government allotted the bungalow to Meira Kumar, who was an MP. But after his government fell, the new regime initiated eviction proceedings against her. But Kumar got a reprieve from two successive coalition governments headed by V P Singh and later by Chandra Shekhar.
The Congress government led by P V Narasimha Rao decided in 1991 to allot the bungalow to Ram's widow, Indrani Devi for life. After her death in 2002, the National Democratic Alliance government cancelled the allotment and directed Kumar to vacate the premises.
After the United Progressive Alliance government came to power, Kumar – who became a minister – was allotted the same bungalow. According to the directorate of estates, she requested that the bungalow me converted into a memorial for her father and sought another bungalow for herself. The government, however, did not take any decision.
In the second UPA tenure, Kumar became the speaker and was automatically given the official bungalow.