The state government has waived penalty arrears of Rs 3.07 lakhs of Mumbai City collector Ashwini Joshi. She was occupying government flat in Kedar-2 building in Churchgate despite her transfer to Thane. RTI activist Anil Galgali gained access to PWD departments papers regarding her stay, the penalty imposed thereon and its ‘magnanimous’ withdrawal by the Maharashtra Government.
Galgali inquired about the detail documents of Ashwini Joshi overstay and penalty imposed. Government Administration Department Public Information Officer and Under Secretary S.M. Dhule informed Galgali that Maharashtra government under special case waived off her penalty. According to the documents, Ashwini Joshi then posted in Mumbai was transferred to Thane on 17th December 2014. As per existing rules a civil servant can retain his or her accommodation on payment of a nominal rent for three months after transfer. After lapse of this period, penalty rises up to Rs 50 per square foot. The penalty arrears due to Joshi had mounted up to Rs 3,06,838 by 13th October, 2015. She didn’t vacate the plush flat and failed to pay the rent.
On 4th May 2016 Ashwini forwarded an application to the Chief Minister for granting her government accommodation. The CM approved the application according it top priority. When the file reached General Administration department, the mater pertaining to Ashwini’s outstanding rent and penalty to be paid were brought on record. Joshi pleaded that she retained the Churchgate flat for attending office. Ashwini also requested that she should be charged the original nominal rent, instead of much steeper penalty amount. The General Administration department forwarded her plea to the Chief Ministers Office quoting the nominal rent to be charged. Chief Minister’s Principal Secretary forwarded the file to Chief Minister as he approved it.
“A civil servant entrusted with collecting revenue from citizen, skirting the law to forgo her own penalty sets up a wrong precedent. I have urged the Chief Minister asking Joshi to pay all the outstanding arrears with penalities,” said Galgali.