Not long ago, here lived a former Punjab DGP

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Once the power centre of Punjab Police, the sprawling corner bungalow in Sector 16 of Chandigarh now looks vandalised. On the orders of the Chandigarh Administration, it was vacated this month by Punjab's former DGP-turned-politician P S Gill.

The boundary wall which earlier had high-security panels has been badly damaged and many windowpanes, sinks, taps and doors are either missing or broken. While concrete rooms and camp office created for the police chief have all been reduced to rubble, even stone slabs and plants in the lawns have been uprooted. The kitchen and bathrooms bear marks of the "extracted" expensive taps, gadgets and upholstery. Whatever little has been left behind, including taps and bathroom fittings, can be easily assessed from the open back door and kitchen door. This is not all. A bunch of keys was seen lying near the open back door.

The Estate Department of Chandigarh, however, is clueless about who "vandalised" it. Theories changed from property not handed over to the department to theft as The Indian Express spoke to different officials. Prerna Puri, secretary, house allotment committee, said they dealt with allotment of houses and it was the engineering department that took possession of houses and looked after their repair and maintenance. Chief Engineer S K Chadha, when contacted, said he was not aware whether the property had been handed over to their department. "It is not in my knowledge. We will take action if there is a complaint of theft or vandalising," he said, passing the buck to XEN C B Ojha.

Ojha, however, said the property had been handed over to their department but was found open after Sunday's inspection. "We sent our team and got the doors and windows locked. As for the damage, we will assess it tomorrow. Whatever is missing or destroyed, we will take action and file an FIR to recover it from the earlier occupant," he added.

According to the Estate Office, the Punjab Police wanted to retain the property (house number 500) but Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil had a fortnight back written to Chief Secretary Rakesh Singh to allot it to Leader of Opposition Sunil Jakhar.

Gill, who unsuccessfully contested the January polls from Moga, said he had handed over the property to the Estate Department in good condition on the first of this month. "They raised no objection to the condition of the house. But since the Punjab Police Housing Corporation had spent on fittings and installing other items to make it fit for a DGP, their officers visited the house and took away those items after it was not re-allotted to the police," he said.

On why some fittings had been left, he said they took what was listed in their stock register. "In fact, I spent from my pocket to keep the house well," he added.

The extent of extra spending by the Punjab Police Housing Corporation is revealed by the adjacent under-renovation house which has allowance of just one shed for cars and no extra frills. An official of the UT engineering department said for making the DGP comfortable, the Punjab Police Housing Corporation had created many concrete sheds, installed high-security panels on boundary wall, bought expensive upholstery and fittings and landscaped the lawns.

"They have taken all that and destroyed what they could not as the house is not to be allotted to the Punjab Police. There was clearly an intent to damage but the administration may not be able to take it up with the Punjab Police," he added.

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