Delhi govt holds parleys to decide PWD minster`s fate
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Last Updated: Saturday, February 26, 2011, 00:22
New Delhi: Hectic political parleys took place here on Friday to decide the fate of Delhi PWD Minister Raj Kumar Chauhan whose removal has been recommended by the city Lokayukta for allegedly trying to protect a leading resort in a tax evasion case.

Though there was no clear indication about Chauhan's future, the high-level meetings both at Congress party and government were held to deliberate whether to retain or remove him.

In an unprecedented order, the Lokayukta yesterday recommended to the President of India to "withdraw her pleasure" for the Minister to continue in office as he "misused" his official position.

Lokayukta Justice Manmohan Sarin's order came in a case pertaining to Chauhan's alleged involvement in influencing a team of tax officials when they were carrying out a survey at the premises of the resort in South Delhi in February last year.

"The Minister made a telephone call to the Commissioner of Trade of Taxes in the evening of February 20 last year a team of tax officials were carrying search and survey at the premises of Tivoli Garden Resort to unearth huge evasion of taxes and concealment of income," the order said.

The Lokayukta has also recommended initiation of proceedings against the Minister in accordance with law. "It is a case of interference in the discharge of statutory functions under the Delhi Value Added Tax Act, 2004 during the search and survey."

Sources said, a section of the Congress in Delhi wants Chauhan's ouster, considering that it was first such case in the city where a minister's removal has been recommended to the President while another influential group felt that asking the four-time MLA to step down will cost the party politically.

"The ground on which the Lokayukta has recommended Chauhan's removal is not of very serious nature," a Congressman said.

Asked whether Chauhan will be asked to go, a source in the Delhi Congress said the final decision on the issue will be taken by party high command.

However, as a decision on Chauhan's future is yet to be taken, Ministerial aspirants have started lobbying for an entry into the cabinet.

Chauhan, who represents Mangopuri Assembly constituency in Outer Delhi, is considered close to Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and was given the Urban Development portfolio in the recent reshuffle of the Cabinet by Dikshit.


First Published: Saturday, February 26, 2011, 00:22

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