Akhilesh Yadav may have to pay up Rs 6 lakh for damage to the official bungalow that he used as Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and vacated in June following a Supreme Court order. The amount is nothing compared to Rs 4.67 crore that he allegedly spent in illegal constructions in the house over the years, according to a government report.
The Uttar Pradesh Public Works Department has, in a 200-page report, described damage to the terrace, kitchen, electrical equipment, floor tiles, lawns, paint, brickwork and bathroom fittings. The damage, however, is mostly to the "unauthorised" part constructed by Akhilesh Yadav, the report says.
The state government may issue a show-cause notice to the former chief minister.
Akhilesh Yadav has vehemently denied allegations that he left the bungalow in a mess, damaged, and missing some features like bathroom taps.
He even walked in to a press conference in June carrying two taps. "If the government can prove I took out taps from the bathroom, I am willing to replace them," he declared.
Reacting to the latest report, a Samajwadi Party leader alleged vendetta by the state's ruling BJP.
"The BJP is increasingly getting very scared of the popularity of Akhilesh Yadav. That's why they are doing this. Nothing will come of it. This is just vendetta," said Sunil Yadav, a Samajwadi leader close to Akhilesh Yadav.
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the BJP's Lok Sabha campaign from eastern UP in June, he targeted Akhilesh Yadav over the bungalow controversy.
"Some of these people are more interested in looking at their opulent bungalows. When we started our scheme to provide housing to the poor, the UP government back then refused to even share with us the number of homes to be built for the poor. It was a government that was more interested in their own bungalows," PM Modi had said in the rally in Maghar.
In multiple visits to UP since then, PM Modi has repeatedly attacked Akhilesh Yadav.
The BJP has alleged that Akhilesh Yadav damaged the property "out of frustration" at having to leave the house, and acted like a "kid who spoils a game when he sees he is losing it".
Akhilesh Yadav vacated the 4, Vikramaditya Marg bungalow in Lucknow after the Supreme Court banned former Chief Ministers from holding on to their official bungalows. He and five other ex-chief ministers, including his father Mulayam Singh, were asked to give up their government homes.
Photos and video clips shot the day after he left the bungalow suggested air-conditioners had been removed and bathroom fittings like tiles and water taps were missing.
UP Governor Ram Naik had asked the state's Yogi Adityanath government to take action against the alleged damage and called it a "serious matter" involving the taxpayer's money.
Akhilesh Yadav accused the BJP of trying to humiliate him by using "photography angles", because it was rattled by its defeat in important by-polls.
He also said the governor "is not working according to the constitution. The soul of the RSS has come into him."