'Ex-councillor's negligence killed 2 boys'

'Ex-councillor's negligence killed 2 boys'

Children drowned in pit dug on behest of former councillor, says Lokayukta

Lokayukta Justice Manmohan Sarin on Tuesday held former councillor N Raja responsible for not ensuring civic safety, leading to the death of two children. The two kids had drowned in a pit.

Justice Sarin recommended Lieutenant Governor Tejendra Khanna to issue an advisory to Raja to be careful in doing his duty and ensure safety for residents.

On December 3, 2009, the bodies of the two boys were found floating in a seven-feet-wide pit in Tri Nagar. The pit was allegedly dug at Raja’s behest.

Though it was dug to fill garbage, a water pipe had burst and inundated the hole.

Raja had won from Tri Nagar municipal ward on a Congress ticket. He did not contest the municipal polls this year. 

After taking note of media reports, the Delhi Lokayukta had issued a notice to him. He denied involvement in the incident and claimed an alibi by saying he was not in Delhi when the incident happened.

But  proceeding on the principle of ‘preponderance of probability’, Justice Sarin held that the only feasible option in the circumstances appeared to be that the digging work was carried out on Raja’s order.

While appreciating the first-time councillor’s enthusiasm in maintaining cleanliness at a slum in his constituency and cleaning a park, Justice Sarin said Raja was “remiss in not ensuring safety precautions and measures being taken by either having the pits immediately refilled with earth, or once the water line had burst, the spot should have been barricaded”.

To prevent such incidents and maintain accountability, the Lokayukta suggested the introduction of ‘Constituency Visit Instructions Book’ for councillors. 

“Solving public problems by councillors in their constituencies is a necessity. With a view to ensure that proper records are kept of oral instructions given by councillors, this guide must be introduced,” Justice Sarin said.

“Instructions given by councillors must be noted and passed on to the officers concerned,” he said.

This will ensure that a proper procedure is followed.

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