Following the unearthing of a flesh trade racket in a flat owned by former Mumbai police chief Dr Satyapal Singh, the issue of senior government officials who stay in their official residence and lease out flats they own in the city has come to light. A retired officer said government officials use the loophole in the law according to which Mumbai is considered two different districts. This permits an officer posted in the city to lease out his suburban residence.
Former IPS officer and lawyer YP Singh, speaking on the issue, said: "As per government rule, Mumbai is divided into two districts—city till Mahim and suburb from Bandra onwards. So if an officer is posted in the city, he can rent out his suburban house. Most senior government officials own houses in the suburbs."
Earlier, as per rules, if an officer was found not occupying his private society flat constructed on government-allotted land, he was required to surrender it. "The government would then give the said flat to some other serving official posted in the city. As per the Revenue Department government resolution in July 1999, this condition was set aside and senior officials were given permission to rent out their flats to private parties," Singh said.
"Majority of senior officials posted in Mumbai have private houses as well as government quarters. They take advantage of the loophole in the GR and rent out their houses in suburban district. If Mumbai city is considered one unit, officials will not be able to lease out their flats. In Satyapal Singh's case, his office was in the city and hence he could retain his suburban flat and rent it out," said Singh.