Probe failed to collect Rs 13 crore rent from Pondicherry club, says vigilance commission – The New Indian Express


By Express press service

PUDUCHERRY: The Central Vigilance Commission on Wednesday ordered the Pondicherry Chief Vigilance Office to investigate and take action on the non-collection of lease arrears amounting to Rs 13.5 crore for the rental of a building at a club, Circle of Pondicherry.

The commission urged the UT government to act within a month and complete the investigation within three months.

This follows a complaint from P Raghupathy of Rajiv Gandhi Human Rights Awareness Organisation. According to the complaint, the non-renewal of the lease after its expiry and the non-review of the rent of the government buildings leased to the club resulted in a loss of revenue for the government.

The government building and an adjoining tennis court on Rue Victor Simonel, near the Legislative Assembly, had been leased to Circle De Pondicherry by the former French government in 1938.

While the lease expired on December 31, 1963, and was not renewed, the club continues to occupy the premises to this day, the organization found. The lease rent was revised with effect from July 1978.

On July 14, 2011, the Executive Engineer, B&R (Central), PWD, proposed to the Chief Engineer, PWD that the AG (Audit), DAT Buildings, Puducherry raised an audit objection that the division B&R Central has not renewed the lease agreement, or revised the lease rent since 1978. This has resulted in the loss of revenue resources.

In response to the audit objection, the Central EE Division, B&R requested the Deputy Collector (North) on 18 October 2010 to provide the fair rent for the building, who then set it at Rs 10 lakh per month . He also advised them to adopt the fair rent after obtaining the agreement of the Ministry of Finance.

“The club will pay the rent arrears to the government and sign a new tenancy agreement within the period stipulated by the Rent Control Authority…or else they must vacate the premises within three months of payment of dues, failing from which eviction will be instituted under the provisions of Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorized Occupants) Act, 1971, on account of unauthorized occupancy,” he said.

In 2011, a notice was issued to Cercle De Pondicherry requesting dues of 435 lakh crore within three months from the date of the notice.

“However, years after the notice was sent, no action has been taken. Especially in the Memorandum of Understanding signed on October 21, 1954, Circle De Pondicherry was working for cultural promotion, but on what basis can- they get a liquor license and sell liquor in violation of every provision of this agreement?” asked Raghupathy.

The agreement also does not specify that no rent will be charged.

PUDUCHERRY: The Central Vigilance Commission on Wednesday ordered the Pondicherry Chief Vigilance Office to investigate and take action on the non-collection of lease arrears amounting to Rs 13.5 crore for the rental of a building at a club, Circle of Pondicherry. The commission urged the UT government to act within a month and complete the investigation within three months. This follows a complaint from P Raghupathy of Rajiv Gandhi Human Rights Awareness Organisation. According to the complaint, the non-renewal of the lease after its expiry and the non-review of the rent of the government buildings leased to the club resulted in a loss of revenue for the government. The government building and an adjoining tennis court on Rue Victor Simonel, near the Legislative Assembly, had been leased to Circle De Pondicherry by the former French government in 1938. While the lease expired on December 31 1963 and was not renewed, the club continues to occupy the area to this day, the organization found. The lease rent was revised with effect from July 1978. The Executive Engineer, B&R (Central), PWD on July 14, 2011, proposed to the Chief Engineer, PWD that the AG (Audit), DAT Buildings, Pondicherry raises an audit objection that the central division of B&R has not renewed the lease contract or revised the lease rent since 1978. This has resulted in loss of revenue. In response to the audit objection, the Central EE Division, B&R requested the Deputy Collector (North) on 18 October 2010 to provide the fair rent for the building, who then set it at Rs 10 lakh per month . He also advised them to adopt the fair rent after obtaining the agreement of the Ministry of Finance. “The club will pay the rent arrears to the government and sign a new tenancy agreement within the period stipulated by the Rent Control Authority…or else they must vacate the premises within three months of payment of dues, failing of which eviction shall be instituted under the provisions of Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorized Occupants) Act, 1971, on account of unauthorized occupancy,” he said. Cercle De Pondicherry requesting dues of 435 lakh crore within three months from the date of the notice.” However, years after the notice was sent, no action has been taken. Especially in the memorandum of understanding signed on October 21, 1954, Circle De Pondicherry worked for cultural promotion, but on what basis can they obtain a liquor license and sell alcohol in violation of all the provisions of this agreement ? asked Raghupathy. The agreement also does not specify that no rent will be charged.

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