Chandigarh: Savitri Jindal, said to be India's richest woman, was on Friday asked by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to vacate within 15 days her government accommodation, which she had been occupying unauthorisedly.
The court said that if Jindal failed to vacate the government bungalow within the stipulated time, the estate officer here would complete eviction proceedings within six weeks.
Jindal, a legislator of the ruling Congress in Haryana and mother of industrial tycoon and high-profile MP Naveen Jindal, has been occupying a ministerial bungalow in Chandigarh's upscale Sector 7 even though she ceased to be a minister in 2009.
She has been listed by a leading publication as the country's richest woman as she lords over a huge multi-billion steel and power sector empire being the chairperson of the Jindal group. Her name also figures among the Top-100 richest people in the world.
Jindal is the Congress legislator from Hisar. She had been a minister of state for power in the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government from 2005 to 2009. Her industrialist-cum-politician husband, OP Jindal, who was a minister in the Hooda government, was killed when his private helicopter crashed near the Haryana-Uttar Pradesh border March 2005.
The Haryana government had informed the high court in March 2013 that they had served a 15-day notice to Jindal to vacate her government house which she had been "occupying unauthorisedly".
Former Haryana transport minister OP Jain, who was forced to resign from the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government June 2011 after he was booked by police for a murder conspiracy, was also asked to vacate his ministerial bungalow within 15 days.
Both former ministers were also asked to deposit penal rent, amounting to Rs.89 lakh in Jindal's case and Rs.38 lakh in Jain's case by the state government. Both leaders were served the notices March 4.
Taking strong exception to the government houses being occupied illegally by powerful people, the high court also directed former Punjab chief minister and Congress leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal to vacate her government bungalow within 15 days also. Bhattal has been in occupation of the bungalow, located in Chandigarh's high-security Sector 2, even though she ceased to be leader of opposition in the state in 2012.
The high court had, in March 2013, asked the Punjab government why eviction proceedings had not been initiated against Bhattal.