New Delhi: Amidst the raging controversy surrounding the Nehru Memorial Museum Library (NMML), the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund, chaired by Sonia Gandhi and housed in the Teen Murti Estate here, has been asked by Ministry of Housing and Urban Development to vacate the premises on grounds of “unauthorised occupation”, which the Fund has refuted in “unequivocal terms”. In a letter dated September 11 from the Directorate of Estates under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, a copy of which is with IANS, the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund had been asked to vacate the Teen Murti Bhavan by September 24. The letter said that NMML is in “dire need of space” and alleged that the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund is occupying the premises “without any authority of law”.
“Having coming to know about your unauthorised occupation of the building in pursuance of the communications received from NMML and having realised that you are in unauthorised occupation of the demised premises which is badly required for the objects of NMML, you are directed to vacate the premises… not later than 24.09.2018… failing which further action will be taken under the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised occupants) Act 1971,” the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs warned in its letter. The letter signed by G.P. Sarkar (Deputy Director, Estates) further said that Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund is “liable to pay damage charges for illegal occupation of the premises w.e.f. 28.08.1967”.
Responding to the notice, N. Balakrishnan, Administrative Secretary of the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund, refuted its premise and asked that it be withdrawn. “I hereby refute in unequivocal terms your charge of unauthorised use or unauthorised occupation of the present office premises by the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund in the Teen Murti Estate,” Balakrishnan said in his response in a letter (that IANS has has access to) on September 20.
The five-page letter elaborated at length that the premises has been in its occupation since 1967, and has “remained unchallenged and never questioned and has been cemented”. Notably, it was NMML that had requested the Central government (vide letter dated June 14, 2018) “that a portion of Teen Murti Estate” occupied by the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund “be vacated.” (IANS)