CBI arrests Kejriwal’s key aide in a graft case
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar was among five persons arrested by CBI today in a graft case, sparking a vicious attack by a livid AAP on the Centre, accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of taking revenge for Delhi poll loss.
As the arrests over allegedly showing undue favours to a private company in award of government contracts worth over Rs 50 crore triggered a full-blown confrontation between the Centre and the AAP, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said never has any central government “stooped to such low level”.
The Centre was also accused of “political vendetta” and “paralyzing” governance in Delhi. “Mr Modi, even if you only leave us with just peons, we will run the government with them,” Sisodia said.
Kumar, a 1989 IAS officer of UT cadre, was called along with Tarun Sharma, a Deputy Secretary in Kejriwal’s office, besides three other private persons for questioning at the CBI headquarters this morning.
After being questioned for half a day, the CBI decided to place the two officers under arrest along with a close aide of Kumar, Ashok Kumar and owners of a private firm Sandeep Kumar and Dinesh Gupta.
The CBI had registered a case against Kumar and others in December last year alleging that the officer had abused his official position by “favouring a particular firm in the last few years in getting tenders of Delhi government departments”.
The charges pressed by the CBI are under sections 120-B of IPC (criminal conspiracy), and 13(2), 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act (Criminal conspiracy, criminal misconduct etc) for allegedly favouring a private company –Endeavour Systems Pvt. Ltd.– in bagging five contracts.
The CBI alleged that the accused persons had entered into a criminal conspiracy and caused a loss of Rs 12 crore to the Delhi Government in award of contracts between 2007 and 2015, and claimed that the officials had taken “undue benefit” of over Rs three crore while awarding the contract.
“The CBI has today arrested five persons including a senior civil servant, Government of Delhi, another official of Delhi government, two directors of a Delhi-based private company and a private person.
“The allegations relate to bribery and abuse of official position by the said senior civil servant and others to favour a Delhi based private company in award of contracts of Delhi government,” CBI’s Chief Press Information officer R K Gaur said, adding the arrested accused persons will be produced before court tomorrow.
“There is a conspiracy to paralyze the CM office.
Principal Secretary and Deputy Secretary to CM have been arrested while Assistant secretary was transferred to Andaman.
“All has happened in just one day…this is the lowest levels to which a Central government has stooped, from the time Delhi has had an elected government in 1991,” Sisodia told reporters.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi is taking revenge of his party defeat in Assembly elections from the people of Delhi by arresting, transferring our officers and creating hurdles in our works, but we are not scared of these things,” he added.
Sisodia earlier had tweeted, “Modi ji, let me tell you – we’ve been elected by ppl of Delhi, we shall run an effective govt for them despite all your attacks on us! (sic).”
Senior AAP leader Ashutosh called the arrest of Kumar as “political vendetta” and attacked Modi, questioning whether he hates Pakistan more or the AAP.