Himachal High Court quashes lease to former Congress MLA’s wife, nephew

Shimla: The Himachal High Court came down hard on HP Urban Development Authority (HIMUDA) and quashed a lease allotment of a prime commercial property to the wife and nephew of a former congress MLA.

Allowing the writ petition of Rajesh N Satija, Justice Surjit Singh quashed the allotment of a partially built up structure for a cafeteria in the crowded SDA office complex, Kasumpati that was leased out to Kirit Devi and Sunil Kumar, wife and nephew of former congress MLA from Shimla, Harbhajan Singh Bhajji.

Disallowing an affidavit submitted under oath by YR Sharma, who was the then chief executive officer of HIMUDA that Kirti Devi and Sunil Kumar had submitted their bid documents well within the stipulated time on 14 September, 2006, the judge was not convinced.

After considering arguments of both sides and taking material facts on record, the presiding judge noted, “it can reasonable be presumed that the story put forward by the then CEO is not true.”

The judge observed that the CEO wanted to help Kirti Devi and Sunil Kumar for reasons best known to him and the entire process of leasing out the property, in question, is vitiated.

The petitioner had moved the court that by the closing time for the bidding process at 5.30 p.m. on 14th September, 2006 there were only two bids for the property received by HIMUDA, but next day when the documents were opened there were three bids and the CEO had allowed the bid of the MLAs wife and nephew, despite it being objected to.

The court directed that in case HIMUDA still intended to lease out the property, it would have to initiate the process afresh.

As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik has nurtured Hill Post for over a decade. A chequered path had him drift from managing family owned apple orchards, to turning a documentary filmmaker, to a journalist - with India’s leading television networks and newspapers, to boot strapping in founding Start-Ups. He lives in Shimla.

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