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An IAS who allegedly took bribe, forged signatures of two CS’, then finally got suspended on razing 15th century monument to construct an illegal govt residence

By Ram Kumar Kaushik

Taking a strict action against IAS Udit Prakash Rai, the Ministry of Home Affairs him over allegations of demolishing a historical monument to construct a government accommodation.

According to an order issued by the MHA, departmental proceedings are being contemplated against Rai, who is a 2007-batch AGMUT- cadre officer currently posted in Mizoram.

During suspension period, the headquarters of Rai would be Mizoram and he will not be able to leave the headquarters without prior permission from competent authority.

Who is Udit Prakash Rai?

Rai, a native of Uttar Pradesh is an engineering graduate from BITS, Pilani. An AGMUT cadre officer, he has served in Delhi in various capacity including additional director education, deputy commissioner north east Delhi and special commissioner trade tax. His work as special secretary health and family welfare during Covid was appreciated. He has also worked on central deputation as Officer on Special Duty with mines ministry. Though his entire career has not been much eventful, his tenures as CEO of Delhi Jal Board and as vice Agricultural Marketing Board remained controversial,

What is the case

The case is related to a building constructed by Delhi Jal Board as the residence of its CEO. Though Rai is presently stationed in Mizoram, his family occupies the newly built residence that replaced the ancient monument.

The palatial govt residence of DJB CEO for which monument was razed

The issue emerged in December 2020 when the Delhi Archaeology Department visited the site and discovered the historic structures. The department sought possession of the site for preservation. According to the Archaeology Department, the site is a “Pathan period” Mahal dating back to 1418 during the Sayyid dynasty's rule in Delhi and holds significance in the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) List of Muhammadan and monuments.

In January 2021, the Archaeology Department revisited the site only to find that the monument had been completely demolished to make way for an opulent bungalow intended to serve as the official residence of the Delhi Jal Board's CEO. The show-cause notice highlighted that the monument was under the control of the Delhi Jal Board, and the newly constructed house exceeded the prescribed area for Type VIII quarters by nearly 300 sqm, whereas Rai was entitled to Type V government housing. The bungalow was constructed on a plot of approximately 5,500 sqm, with a construction cost of Rs. 4 crore.

More controversies for Rai

One J S Sharma from Home Ministry has filed a complaint against Udit Prakash Raifor accepting a bribe of Rs. 50 lakhs to provide “undue favors” to PS Meena, an executive engineer at Directorate of Agriculture Marketing Board, and also diluted punishment in two corruption cases involving Meena. Delhi Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena took strict action against corruption and recommended to the Home Ministry that appropriate measures be taken against Udit Prakash Rai.

He has also been accused of forging the signatures of two chief from different union territories on his annual performance appraisal report (APAR). The case was registered at the IP Estate police station under Section 465 (punishment of forgery) and 471 (fraudulent or dishonest use as genuine any document or electronic record). The complaint was filed by special secretary (vigilance) YVVJ Rajasekhar on June 2.

The complaint raised concerns about discrepancies in Rai's APARs from April 2017 to March 2021, as they were submitted manually instead of through the official portal, violating the All India Services rules. In August 2022, Udit explained to the services department that he couldn't submit his papers online due to a technical glitch, resulting in manual submission. However, during the verification by the reporting and reviewing authorities, it was revealed that the cited officials had neither provided comments on the APARs nor signed them.

Rai and his wife accused Rajasekhar of harassment

Rai had demanded that Rajasekhar be replaced by a secretary-level officer to supervise the probe against him.

In four complaints lodged by Rai over a period of four days from May 30 to June 2, 2023, he had accused Rajasekhar of “harassment” and targeting his family, including his wife and children.

Rai wrote that, “… Rajasekhar is motivated and has a personal vendetta against me. His actions are partial, reek of personal prejudice against me”.

In his complaints, Rai said his family was in Delhi and he feared for its safety. “My wife was routinely getting stalked by unknown men…she was getting abusive calls on the phone,” Rai said in his complaints.

His wife, a teacher in a government school, has given a separate complaint to the police.

In his subsequent complaints on June 1 and June 2, Rai alleged that about 20 people with a huge police team tried to “break into” his house on May 31 when his family was away.

Rai not cooperating in probe: Rajasekhar had said

Rajasekhar, a 2012-batch AGMUT cadre IAS officer, had claimed that the probe against Rai was “documentary evidence-based” and everything was on record.

“It was already confirmed by a joint inspection report by the archaeology department and the DJB that a medieval heritage monument was demolished,” he said.

Rajasekhar claimed that Rai did not cooperate in the enquiry. Vigilance directorate tried to conduct an inspection in the presence of Rai, but the officer locked his official residence and did not allow the inspection to happen.

“It had to be seen whether the officer constructed more than what was mentioned in the notice inviting tender for the construction of the official residence of the CEO of the DJB. The vigilance directorate is being forcefully prevented from conducting this investigation,” he said.

The IAS officer said there are various issues such as award of contract to a contractor on single-financial tender basis.

The vigilance directorate is also examining the issue of “diverting” of funds of other projects for the construction of the DJB CEO's residence, he had claimed.

The BuckStopper Reporter
The BuckStopper Reporterhttps://www.thebuckstopper.com
The BuckStopper, run by a group of seasoned journalists, holds the powerful accountable. The buck stops with them, as they cannot shrug off their official responsibilities.
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