An attempt by the government to demolish the Delhi residence of Subramanian Swamy, who has exposed corruption scams, has been prevented by the Delhi High Court.
The action by the Archaeological Survey of India was seen as vindictive, and an attempt to punish Dr Swamy.
The ASI had served a show cause notice on Swamy for halting the renovation work of his property at A-77 Nizamuddin East in January last year, on the pretext that it came within 28 metres of "Arab Ki Sarai", a protected ancient monument and, therefore, within the prohibited area.
Interestingly, the notice pertaining to "illegal and unauthorized construction" did not specify the site where the alleged illegal and unauthorized construction was supposed to have taken place.
On 29 December last year, the ASI served demolition notices directing Swamy to remove the alleged unauthorized construction within 15 days. Swamy later sent a denial and detailed point by point refutation of the demolition notices. However, as the ASI did not respond to his letter and was likely to go ahead with the demolition, Swamy filed a writ petition in the high court, which quashed the demolition order last week.
Roxna Swamy, wife of Subramanian Swamy said, "There is a nasty intention behind the move to put us in trouble. Several builder flats are being constructed in the area. Nobody is stopping them. But Dr Swamy is being singled out because of his campaign against corruption." She said the renovation work was
done within permissible limits, fulfilling all norms and that there was no violation of rule at any point of time.
Interestingly, Swamy was successful in the Supreme Court in getting the 2G spectrum licences cancelled and receiving sanction to prosecute the then Telecom Minister A. Raja. Swamy had also moved a petition to investigate and prosecute Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in the case. He is also involved with the campaign against black money stashed abroad. The petition has also mentioned about a threatening phone call from a magazine staff, who wanted to interview her in connection with the reported construction.
Nizamuddin has several protected monuments — Arab Ki Sarai, Humayun's tomb, Khan e Khanan's tomb, Bara Puliya, Sabz Burj, Nil Gumbad and the Nizamuddin Dargah complex. Very few spots are not under the prohibited area.
However, despite this there have been instances of building construction after the demolition of the existing structure. Most of these works are being carried out by professional builders. The flats are being sold in the range of Rs 3 cr each. Besides, there are also cases of a third floor being added by the families owning the buildings.