Wanted: A House For Myself à la Sibal or Kejriwal Style

Kapil Sibal, who is a lawyer, is renting a property for Rs 16 Lakh a month, while Arvind Kejriwal, who claims to be unemployed, will pay Rs 50,000 as rent for his new house.

Living in the national capital is costly, though not as costly as Mumbai. For living in the posh circuits – which are safer and have good houses – you will have to put a big hole in your pocket. Even a one room decent apartment can cost you between Rs 20-30 Thousand a month.

I am searching for a house for myself. However, I can settle for a room in any of the villages in Delhi (there are many!) as my pocket does not allow living in high end societies. But the house hunt process is as difficult as climbing a rocky steep mountain.

It has been two months and I have not been able to find a one bedroom flat in any of the sarais, be it ber, Lado, Katwari or even Neb, which is safe, decent, having all the facilities, and within my spending range.

While reading the news, I came across a piece which made my jaw drop. Former telecom and law minister Kapil Sibal is going to pay Rs 16 Lakh as a rent per month for a luxurious house in Lutyens’ Delhi.

16 Lakh – that is four times my annual salary. And Sibal is taking this house despite losing his seat in the Lok Sabha elections. He is neither an MP nor a member of any of the government’s commissions. How will he manage to pay such a big rent?

Then I remembered Sibal is a lawyer by profession who has admitted to an annual earning Rs 77 Lakh. Plus his wife earns Rs 28.73 Lakh a year. His assets are worth Rs 114 Crore. Why would he have any problem in paying the rent?

This bunglow, built on a 1,250 square yard plot in Jor Bagh, overlooking the Safdarjung Tomb, is owned by Delhi-based businessman Siddharth Sareen, the brother-in law of Emaar MGF promoter Shravan Gupta. Reportedly, both Sibal and Sareen have confirmed that they had signed an agreement for the house, but refused to reveal the contracted rent. Persons closely associated with the deal were quoted by media saying that Sareen had demanded Rs 18 lakh for the bungalow, but settled for Rs 16 lakh.

But didn’t Sibal declare that he owned or had shares in 17 properties including residential, commercial, agricultural and non-agricultural land worth over Rs. 68 crore? Didn’t his wife own a house in the New Friend’s Colony in Delhi which is barely three kilometers away from Jor Bagh?

Whatever the reasons, Sibal now has the most expensive property on rent.

But stranger is the case of Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal. First, his dear ‘friend’ in the media explained his ordeal of not getting a home in the national capital in his blog. Then he managed to find a home which was owned by the businessman son of a former Congress MP in posh north Delhi’s Civil Lines.

In addition to that, Kejriwal tweeted about the house “offer” and thanked the landlord, giving an impression that the property had been offered to him for free or for a nominal amount, similar to the way that the  Hanuman Road property in central Delhi was offered to AAP to run its office.

But it was later learnt that Kejriwal will have to pay Rs 50,000 as a rent for the four bedroom house. In addition to the Civil Lines house, the AAP chief has been paying Rs. 85,000 per month from March 1 for the government flat at Tilak Lane in central Delhi since he didn’t vacate it within the mandatory 15 days after resigning as chief minister.

It was reported in the media that Kejriwal will renovate his new house which will cost something between Rs 6-8 Lakh.

Kejriwal, sitting MLA from the New Delhi, claims to be unemployed and has no known source of income. His wife is an IRS officer and, according to the same blog by his dear ‘friend’, is in the line of promotion as Income Tax Commissioner.

Kejriwal has assets worth Rs 2.13 crore which includes a flat in Gurgaon and land in Ghaziabad (UP) and Shivani (Haryana). There was also a controversy over a home owned by him in Delhi which he had not mentioned in his affidavit while declaring his assets during the elections. Kejriwal also claims to be living off of his friends’ money.

Looking at both the cases, especially at Kejriwal’s, I wish to change my profession. But before that I want to know who manages the finances of these two politicians.

Also, I want to have such friends who can run my household and pay whooping sums as a rent for my residence. Any takers?

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