Maharashtra: 35 IPS officers owe almost Rs 4 cr for overstaying in govt accommodation

Thirty-five serving and retired Indian Police Service (IPS) officers cumulatively owe the Maharashtra government at least Rs 3.82 crore in fines for staying on in government accommodation after they had been transferred from those posts.

The list of these officers includes two former Commissioners of Mumbai Police, one of whom is also a two-time BJP MP.

There are four serving Commissioners of Police on the list, and two Additional Directors-General and a former Director General of Police-rank officer.

Under the rules, IPS officers who are transferred out of a post must vacate their official accommodation for their successor in the post within a specified time, failing which they are liable to pay a fine.

The fines payable by these officers, as per information obtained by The Indian Express under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, have been calculated up to the end of March 2021.

Most of these officers stayed on in homes that were allotted to them when they were posted in Mumbai, the Maharashtra Home Department’s replies to the RTI application show.

The top seven defaulters in the list owe the government more than Rs 20 lakh each, the RTI replies show.

The biggest sum is owed by Sanjay Kumar Baviskar, DIG, State Reserve Police Force in Pune. He has been fined Rs 75.77 lakh for continuing to occupy a 1,046-sq-foot apartment in Mumbai until October 2020, even though he had been transferred in mid-2011.

When asked for a comment, Baviskar declined, saying this was a personal matter.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Dr Mahesh Patil, posted with Crime Branch, Mira Bhayandar Vasai Virar Commissionerate, owes the government Rs 33.77 lakh for staying on in a 1,000-sq-foot apartment in Mumbai until June 2019, even though he had been transferred from the post of DCP (Zone V), Mumbai, as Superintendent of Police, Thane (Rural), in May 2016.

Patil said his son was studying in Class 10, because of which he had been unable to vacate the apartment. He did not specify the year this happened. “From Mumbai I was posted to departments that do not provide accommodation,” Patil said.

Retired IPS officers Surinder Kumar and Dhananjay Kamlakar owe Rs 25.78 lakh and Rs 22.82 lakh respectively to the government.

SP (Anti Corruption Bureau) Punjabrao Ugale owes Rs 20.77 lakh, and retired IPS officer Bipin Bihari, Rs 20.29 lakh, information obtained under the RTI Act shows.

Asked for a comment, Kumar said, “There is some miscalculation. I had retained the accommodation after taking due permissions from the government.”

Kamlakar and Ugale declined to comment.

Bihari said he could not comment as he has appealed to the government.

Former Mumbai Police Commissioner Dhananjay Jadhav owed the government Rs 20.16 lakh upto March 31. Jadhav, who was suffering from a heart ailment, passed away on March 30.

Another former Mumbai Police Commissioner, Dr Satya Pal Singh, has been fined Rs 12.94 lakh. Singh won the Lok Sabha election from Baghpat on a BJP ticket in 2014 and 2019.

In a text message, Singh said, “I never overstayed in any government quarters. It was perhaps some mistake on the part of department which might have been calculated when I was posted outside Mumbai. I stayed in Police Quarters which was free and not in Government general pool. The license fees were waived off when Shri R R Patil was the Home Minister. It should be in Home Department records.”

Explaining the process of fines for overstaying, an official of the Maharashtra government said that when an IPS officer is transferred from one Commissionerate to another, or to a district, they are given three months to vacate their official accommodation, after which the fine clock starts ticking.

“For the first three months, the government does not charge anything, as this is the time given to them to move their families. For the next three months, the government only charges a licence fee,” the official said.

“If, however, an officer fails to vacate the accommodation even after six months of being relieved from the post, the government starts applying a penal rent in addition to the licence fee,” the official added.

The licence fee varies from Rs 120 to Rs 1,400 per month, depending on the size of the accommodation, the official said. The penal rent is much higher — for a 1,000-sq-foot government accommodation for example, the penal rent is Rs 1,50,000 per month, charged at the rate of Rs 150 per sq foot.

Special Inspector General of Police, Nanded range, Nisar Tamboli, Government Railway Force (GRP) Commissioner Quaiser Khalid, Solapur Police Commissioner Ankush Shinde, and Palghar Superintendent of Police Dattatrey Shinde are yet to pay accumulated fines of Rs 16.91 lakh, Rs 15.05 lakh, Rs 11.56 lakh, and Rs 8.03 lakh, according to replies to the RTI application.

Tamboli did not respond to calls and messages asking for a comment.

Khalid said he was unaware of any charges that were due from him.

Ankush Shinde said, “I will have to verify this before commenting.”

Dattatrey Shinde denied he owed the government any money.

Among the other officers who owe the government, according to the reply to the RTI application, are Additional Director General (Rail) Dr Pradnya Saravade (Rs 8.26 lakh), Special Inspector General of Police (Admin) Brijesh Singh (Rs 6.48 lakh), and Additional Director General (Anti Corruption Bureau) Vinaykumar Choubey (Rs 5.05 lakh).

Sarvade declined to comment. Choubey did not respond to calls and messages from The Indian Express.

Singh said: “During the time I overstayed in a quarters in Mumbai, I was transferred to Pune and my daughter was in 10th standard and there is a rule that you can have accommodation if your children are pursuing Board examinations. I have quoted that Government Resolution and appealed to the government.”

According to the RTI replies, Pimpri Chinchwad Police Commissioner Krishna Prakash and Thane Police Commissioner Jaijeet Singh are yet to pay accumulated fines of Rs 2.43 lakh and Rs 1.51 lakh respectively.

Prakash said the PWD in Pimpri Chinchwad had said there were no assigned government quarters for personnel of any category, because of which he has retained the Mumbai apartment in which his family is staying.

“I have written to the government with a copy of the PWD’s certificate,” Prakash said.

In a text message, Jaijeet Singh said: “I’m yet to receive any demand note. Will certainly pay if I owe any money.”

Retired IPS officers Sunil Paraskar and Pratap Dighavkar owe the government Rs 16.71 lakh and Rs 3.93 lakh respectively.

Paraskar said there had been a miscalculation and he had written to the Commissioner of Mumbai Police, but was yet to get a reply.

Dighavkar said: “My wife was also a senior Class I officer. She was posted as Assistant Regional Transport Officer. She has not taken any accommodation and did not take HRA, so after I was transferred to Pune, she occupied the accommodation. I have appealed to the government.”

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