New Delhi: Defending the allotment of the bungalow of former President A P J Abdul Kalam to Tourism and Culture Mahesh Sharma, Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu today said the allocation was made as per "rules and procedures" of the government.
"All our ministers have been allocated government accommodation one after another. Only Mahesh Sharma could not be allocated. Earlier, 7 Tyagraj Marg was allotted to him but the occupant that time did not vacate the bungalow," he told PTI.
"Now the 10 Rajaji Marg bungalow, which has become vacant, has been allocated to Sharma as per rules and procedures on the basis of vacation by former President Kalam's staff," he said.
Quoting Rule 3 of the Ministers Residence Rules, 1962, he said, "Cabinet Ministers and Ministers of State shall be allotted Type VIII accommodation subject to availability and in that order."
He also cited an office memorandum issued by the UPA government on November 30, 2007 that said, "Cabinet Ministers and Ministers shall be alloted Type VIII subject to availability and in that order and Deputy Ministers shall be allotted Type VII subject to availability. It was an order during the Congress regime."
He said that ministers of state during UPA regime including Jyotiraditya Scindia, K H Muniyappa, Sachin Pilot, K Chiranjeevi, E Ahamed, Rajiv Shukla and Adheer Ranjan Chowdhury were allotted Type VIII bungalows.
"So now why this hue and cry now," he asked.
Attacking political opponents for making the Type VIII bungalow allocation to Sharma an issue, he said, "As usual they are continuing with the disinformation campaign. They blow issues out of proportion. They twist the facts, try to mislead the people and the latest being the allocation of a bungalow to one of my ministers Mahesh Sharma."
He said Kalam's staff has informed the government that by October 31, the premises will be vacated.
"I am happy about that. Unlike others, who made a big issue out of it these people have agreed to vacate by October 31."