Vigilance dept notice to IAS Udit Prakash Rai, five DJB engineers

New Delhi: The Delhi government’s vigilance department has served a notice to senior IAS officer Udit Prakash Rai for the construction of an official accommodation following the demolition of a 15th-century monument during his tenure as DJB’s chief executive officer.

The department has also issued show cause notices to five Delhi Jal Board (DJB) engineers for their alleged connivance in the demolition of the monument and construction of the official residence of the board’s CEO.

The engineers with administrative responsibilities in the Board have been asked to furnish their replies in two weeks.

The monument, a “Mahal” (palace) of the Pathan period and the only remnant of the Khizrabad city founded by Khizr Khan of the Sayyid dynasty was located at Jal Vihar area near Lajpat Nagar in southeast Delhi.

Multiple political parties, including the BJP and Trinamool Congress, have demanded action over the demolition of the monument.

“Only in India. Fifteenth-century monument demolished to construct govt officer’s bungalow. Are the Archaeological Survey of India and Ministry of Culture napping yet again? Urging G Kishan Reddy (Union Minister For Culture and Tourism) to look at this,” TMC MP Mahua Moitra tweeted.

Delhi BJP president Virendra Sachdeva, in a letter to the Delhi L-G, demanded a high-level probe into the matter.

The monument was in the process of being handed over to the Archaeology department by the Delhi Jal Board (DJB). However, in a joint inspection by the department and DJB in January this year, it was found missing, said the vigilance department’s notice issued on Wednesday.

Rai has been given two weeks to respond to the notice. In August 2022, Delhi L-G V K Saxena recommended to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) action against Rai for allegedly taking a bribe of

Rs 50 lakh.

A 2007 batch IAS officer of AGMUT cadre, Rai is currently posted in Mizoram. No reaction was immediately available from him over the Vigilance department notice.

The monument was mentioned in the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) list of ‘Muhammadan and Hindu monuments’ of Delhi. It comprised a palace (mahal) and a gateway that still exists while the former was gone, said the notice.

The ‘Mahal’ comprised three arched dalan flanked by two compartments built with red sandstone and brick masonry.

The notice cited notes of DJB officials mentioning that the monument was in a dilapidated state and was to be handed over to the archaeology department for immediate intervention to save it after a visit in January 2021.

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