New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party and Aam Aadmi Party are locked in a fresh war of words over the latter’s chief and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s house renovation.
The BJP has alleged that Kejriwal has spent Rs 45 crore of taxpayers’ money on the renovation of his residence in the city’s Civil Lines area. Indian Express has reported that the source of this amount is a report by the Times Now Navbharat channel.
The paper reported that BJP’s Ramvir Bhaduri, who is Leader of Opposition in the Delhi assembly, has asked for Kejriwal’s resignation over this “luxury.”
“When Delhi was struggling with Covid, CM of Delhi was spending crores on getting his house renovated. In 2013, he used to say he will neither take a house, security or official vehicle,” Bhaduri said.
PTI has reported that BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra had further alleged that Kejriwal offered “Rs 20-50 crore” to media houses to not highlight the story.
“One of the eight new curtains purchased for the residence cost over Rs 7.94 lakh while the cheapest was Rs 3.57 lakh,” Patra told reporters.
Marbles worth over Rs 1.15 core were brought from Vietnam while Rs 4 core was spent on pre-fabricated wooden walls, he claimed.
AAP, meanwhile, has said that the house was a government-allotted one, built in 1942, and thus requiring attention. In a statement, it has also said that the Public Works Department had ordered an audit, which found that the house needed to be rebuilt. Due process of preparing an estimate, getting finance department approval and floating a tender were followed, said AAP.
Express studied some PWD documents and reported that the first sanction for work in the house was granted on September 1, 2020. “This included work on an RCC-framed structure, along with electrical work and an automatic fire alarm system. The second sanction was granted in May 2021 for “providing and fixing a modular kitchen, laundry and pantry etc”,” it reported.
The paper further said that the above sanctions was followed by a sanction in October 2021 for “balance civil work for additional areas”. More such sanctions were granted in December 2021 and June 2022.
The report said:
“As per the break-up provided in PWD documents, apart from civil, electrical and plumbing work, smart lighting fixtures of different wattage and sizes (2,446 fixtures); energy efficient ceiling fans (80 fans); and a dumbwaiter lift (to deliver food) are part of the cost. Apart from this, installation of 23 curtains with fabric curtain track and motor are also part of the project.”
PTI also offered a breakdown of the expenses.
A senior PWD official told the news agency, “It was not renovation and a new structure has come up in place of the old structure. His camp office is also there. The expenditure is around Rs 44 crore but what is to be noted that the old structures have been replaced with new ones.”
Documents provided to PTI reportedly showed that a total of Rs 44.78 crore against a sanctioned amount of Rs 43.70 crore was spent on “addition/alternation” of Kejriwal’s government accommodation on 6, Flagstaff Road in Civil Lines.
The money was spent in six tranches between September 9, 2020, to June, 2022, the documents showed.
According to the documents, the total expenditure included Rs 11.30 crore on interior decoration, Rs 6.02 crore on stone and marble flooring, Rs one crore on interior consultancy, Rs 2.58 crore on electrical fittings and appliances, Rs 2.85 crore on fire fighting system, Rs 1.41 crore on wardrobe and accessories fitting, and Rs 1.1 crore on kitchen appliances.
A separate amount of Rs 8.11 crore of the sanctioned amount of Rs 9.99 crore was spent on the camp office of the chief minister at his official residence, it showed.
AAP has cited the “Rs 467 crore” new residence of the Prime Minister under the Central Vista Project.
“The estimate for the new Prime Minister’s sprawling house alone is Rs 467 crore, while the actual cost of the Central Vista project is estimated to be Rs 20,000 crore. Further, renovation cost of the PM’s 7 RCR residence was three times the estimate. Just renovation was carried out at a whopping Rs 89 crore against an estimated cost of Rs 27 crore,” the party said.