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HC slaps power-cut notices on MPs

New Delhi, Nov. 23 (PTI): Delhi High Court has asked the New Delhi Municipal Corporation to disconnect the water and electricity supplies of all sitting and former members of Parliament who have failed to clear their dues running into lakhs despite repeated reminders and disconnection notices.

The directive came from a division bench of Chief Justice B.C. Patel and Justice A.K. Sikri on a petition by Krishak Bharat seeking a directive to the civic body, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) and Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) to take immediate action to recover the dues.

“There is no need to give them further notice,” the bench said after civic body counsel Hima Kohli said all the defaulters, except a few whose addresses were not available, have been issued final disconnection notices.

Taking exception to ITDC chairman-cum-managing director Amitabh Kant’s affidavit, the court said: “It does not give necessary details which ought to have been pointed out.”

The court also summoned its director, finance, for failing to take any action to recover over Rs 2.91 lakh from the Indian Youth Congress, though a certificate under the public premises act has been obtained and filed before the deputy commissioner, Jamnagar House, in 1999. The deputy commissioner has also been summoned on December 3, the next date of hearing.

“They (the defaulters) should not forget that the money due from them is public money. All citizens should be treated equally,” the bench had earlier said.

MTNL had initiated arbitration proceedings in 583 cases. In 296 cases, it got awards and in 55 instances, recovery suits were filed, the counsel told the court.

Kohli had told the court that Rs 5.25 crore was due from 327 sitting and ex-MPs who have already been issued disconnection notices.

ITDC counsel H.S. Phoolka had submitted that out of a total of Rs 28.29 lakh due from politicians and political parties, about Rs 20 lakh was to be recovered from the Congress and its affiliates. The Congress itself owed Rs 6 lakh and the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust Rs 4.88 lakh while Rs 2.91 lakh was due from the Indian Youth Congress and Rs 1.50 lakh each from the International Youth Congress and the state Congress, Phoolka had said.

A sports body headed by Suresh Kalmadi also owed Rs 4.24 lakh, the court was informed.

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