SRINAGAR: Former chief minister Omar Abdullah today distanced himself from the occupation of a bungalow belonging to the Jammu and Kashmir government in Delhi by his estranged wife Payal.
Referring to media reports on the issue, he said in a statement that he had responded to the state Estate officer’s eviction notice as far back as June 4 this year informing him that he was not in occupation of the bungalow in question.
“This I did, after informing my wife, who I have been separated from for more than five years now and also after having informed her of the alternative arrangements available to them,” Mr Abdullah said in the statement, according to a PTI report.
He was responding to media reports that said that Ms Payal had approached Supreme Court against the eviction notice issued by the J&K government for vacating 7-Akbar Road, which is the official residence of the state chief minister.
Reports suggest Payal, who has been putting up there for over a decade, is unwilling to leave from the sprawling type-VIII villa, even though it happens to be the designated official residence for J&K CM in New Delhi.
Reports reveal that Payal, separated from Omar since 2011, has resisted all attempts by the J&K Resident Commission to evict her.
Officials said Payal insists, it’s her legal right to contest the eviction and live in the bungalow allotted to her husband.
Last year, Omar demitted the CM’s office to be succeeded by late Mufti Mohammed Sayeed. Reports reveal that the estate officer in the J&K Resident Commission, New Delhi, issued a notice to Payal on November 30, 2015 asking her to vacate.
Payal Abdullah didn’t respond till December 12 saying: “The house was allotted to Omar Abdullah, ex-CM of J&K and not his family, as addressed. You are requested to address the correspondence to him (Omar) at Srinagar, Jammu, being an MLA, with regard to vacating of the bungalow.”
Surprised by her adamant stand, the estate officer on June 1, 2016 issued a show cause notice to Omar asking him to explain why eviction proceedings should not be initiated for getting vacant possession of the bungalow.
While Omar responded on June 4 informing him that he was not in occupation of the bungalow in question.
A similar notice was also issued to Payal asking her to reply by June 27. In her 37-page reply on June 27, Payal says she’s been living at 7, Akbar Road since 1999 with her two sons.
“Omar Abdullah has deserted his wife and children in the premises in question,” she contends. She cites a Supreme Court judgment to claim that the ruling gives the right to a deserted wife to contest eviction proceedings from premises tenanted by her husband.
“It is an undisputed fact that Payal Abdullah has Z category security and her sons have Z+ security. The two sons are great grandsons of the late Sheikh Abdullah, who played a significant role in the accession of the state of J&K with the Union of India.
“Separatists of J&K, who also operate in New Delhi, occasionally target those who help the government of India in J&K,” she insists, a per the reports.
Payal says from 2002 to 2008, Omar was neither CM nor MP nor MLA, but remained in occupation of the premises on security grounds, threats from militants and political enemies. “In the premises in question, there are 94 security personnel to protect her and children.”
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