Union minister and BJP MP from New Delhi Meenakshi Lekhi on Wednesday alleged Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's official residence here was renovated in violation of the Master Plan 2021, and many trees were removed for the exercise. No immediate reaction was available from the Kejriwal government or the ruling Aam Aadmi Party over the allegations.
Lekhi, who on Wednesday joined the Delhi BJP's indefinite dharna near Kejriwal's 6, Flagstaff Road residence, alleged there was a "scam" in the renovation of the CM's accommodation which cost Rs 45 crore. The Delhi BJP launched the dharna near Kejriwal's official residence in Civil Lines on Monday. The party has also alleged a "scam" in the exercise carried over 2020-22.
A new 500-yard bungalow can be built with around Rs 4-5 crore while Kejriwal spent Rs 45 crore just on the renovation of his residence at a time when the COVID pandemic raged, said the minister. "The same Kejriwal who before coming to power used to say he will not enjoy government accommodation and vehicles has now arranged 7-star facilities for himself as the chief minister," the minister of state for external affairs & culture said.
No tender was floated for the renovation work to keep it under the wraps, she alleged. "It was not done as a single tender of 45 crore but was fragmented into five parts so that the approval of the PWD secretary could be bypassed. Renovation of chief minister's residence was done violating the Delhi Master Plan-2021," Lekhi alleged.
"Its Lutyens' Delhi like area and you cannot add even a brick to any structure without permission. The renovation was carried out in violation of Master Plan 2021. No permission was taken from Delhi Urban Arts Commission either," she alleged. Further, Lekhi charged trees removed for the renovation work were not replaced and many old ones that were translocated did not survive.
"Fewer than 10 tress were removed at a time to avoid the need to seek permission from higher authorities and keep it under the wraps. A liability of 260 trees was fixed for the trees removed. They had to plant 260 trees near Metcalf House but only 83 were planted and 167 are yet to be planted.
"Eleven bigger banyan trees aged hundreds of years perished and only one survived due to wrong method of translocation," she alleged. Kejriwal should open the gates of his residence for the people of Delhi so that they can see for themselves what lies there, or the law will finally catch up and he will be held accountable for his actions, she added.
The AAP has been responding aggressively to the BJP charges, citing expenses on the residences of the prime minister and the chief ministers of BJP-ruled states. The party has been alleging the BJP was making it an issue to divert attention from the pressing issues faced by the country under the Modi government.
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