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HC orders CBI probe into illegal construction of 108-feet Hanuman idol

IANS | New Delhi |

Observing that it was “high time public officials are held accountable” for turning a blind eye to encroachment of public land, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday ordered a CBI enquiry into how an 108-feet Hanuman idol came up on public land in Karol Bagh area of the national capital.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to go after the civic officials under whose tenure the structure came up.

The bench directed the CBI to also investigate if there was any quid pro quo for not acting against the encroachers.

“It’s high time all public official are held accountable. It is an abuse of official position,” said the court while directing DDA, North MCD, Land and Development Office, Public Works Department and Mandir Marg Police Station to join the investigation and cooperate with CBI.

The court also froze the bank account of the trust running the temple. It said the trust should not be permitted to enjoy the benefit of money derived from the public land.

As per the police, the monthly income of the temple from offerings is Rs four lakh but the actual figures may be more than what they were able to ascertain, said the court.

Earlier, the High Court was informed that while one paw of the Hanuman idol fell on the pavement, the rest of the structure was primarily located on land belonging to DDA.

The High Court had called for full particulars of the persons who are responsible for erection of the idol as well as the unauthorised buildings and constructions, including particulars of the persons who have funded it and are in control of these encroachments.

The court was hearing a bunch of petitions relating to illegal constructions and encroachments in Karol Bagh area of Delhi.

The court was earlier informed that the idol was built in 2002 and the temple along with it was run by a trust.

A committee appointed by the High Court had revealed large scale trespass on public land, including for construction of the Hanuman idol and unauthorised construction of multiple small and big buildings.