Mumbai: An RTI response has revealed that the Maharashtra government-owned Sahyadri Guest House in Mumbai is being used for events like birthdays and cooking competitions in open violation of the rules that strictly reserve the space for official use only.
The shocking revelation came after RTI activist Anil Galgali sought information from the government regarding the rules and regulations governing the usage of the guest house located on the Malabar Hills overlooking the Arabian Sea. The RTI activist also sought details of the programmes conducted in the guest house in the past three years.
According to the RTI response, in the last five months, the IAS Officers' Wives Association reserved the guest house on four occasions. On 9 March this year, the guest house was reserved to celebrate the taking over of presidentship of the association by Tanuja Mallick, wife of Chief Secretary Sumeet Mallick. On 8 July, the facility was reserved for holding a cooking competition for a sum of Rs 6,150. Apart from the above the reservation for dates, 18 April and 20 May were also for purposes beyond the scope of permitted reasons.
As per the government resolution on 24 July 2015, the Sahyadri Guest House can be reserved for meetings, Workshops and press conferences headed by either the chief minister, deputy chief minister, cabinet ministers and ministers of state, chief secretary, additional chief secretary, principal secretary, secretary or officer of similar status.
The RTI response has brought to light several instances of misuse of the guest house including the birthday party of Tanuja Mallick.
On 14 June, BJP MLA Raj Purohit made reservations and joint secretary Lata Nandkumar too made reservations on 22 June 2017 without mentioning the purpose of reservations.
"In spite of the clear government resolution, the reservations were made for the IAS Officers' Wives Association violating the rules of allotment. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis should initiate action against the officers who cooperated in the violation of the norms and also commercial rent charges should be recovered from the Association and MLA Purohit," said Galgali.
The General Administration Department of the state government, which looks after the Protocol Department, informed Galgali that from 1 March to 17 July 2017, the guest house was reserved for 139 occasions and a revenue of Rs 28,83,197 was generated as rental charges.
Chief Secretary Suneet Mallick didn't respond to calls or text messages while Purohit categorically denied that neither he nor his office booked the Sahyadri Guest House.
"I don't know who booked the guest house in my name. There should be a proper enquiry and if anyone misused his name," Purohit said.
Updated Date: Aug 18, 2017 22:27 PM