Bikram Arukh surrenders one house

Bhubaneswar: Bowing to public pressure, Odisha Law minister Bikram Keshari Arukh has surrendered one of the two houses availed by his family under the discretionary quota, official sources said.

"The minister has surrended one house at Annanta Vihar in Pokhariput area. He offered to return the house though an application," Vice-Chairman of Bhubaneswar Development Authority D R Singh told reporters here. Arukh, who was in the eye of the storm after the state government uploaded the property list of ministers on the official website last month, had taken two BDA houses at Kalinga Vihar and Pokhariput area.

One house was alloted in the name his wife, Jaylaxmi Arukh, at Kalinga Vihar in 2007 under the discretionary quota of then urban development minister K V Singhdeo. Another house was alloted in the name of the minister at Pokhariput in 2009 under the quota of Badrinarayan Patra, another UD minister.

Arukh, however, has claimed that he did not do anything illegal. BDA norms, however, categorically state that one family could not avail two houses in the Bhubaneswar master plan area. The minister was asked to surrender one of the two houses on the suggestion of the chief minister, sources said.