The Anti-Corruption Branch is questioning Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s private secretary in connection with its probe in the alleged Rs400 crore tanker scam.
The Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) on Saturday had summoned chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s private secretary Vaibhav Kumar in connection with its probe in the alleged Rs 400 crore water tanker scam.
ACB sources had said that Kumar will have to meet the case investigating officer on Wednesday.
The alleged water tanker procurement scam dates back to 2012 when Delhi Jal Board, with the then chief minister, Dikshit, as its chairperson, awarded tenders for hiring 385 stainless steel tankers from private companies.
However, the FIR filed by Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) in June 2016 mentions both the Dikshit regime as well as the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government on the basis of two complaints.
The basis for Delhi Law Minister Kapil Mishra’s plea to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, to lodge an FIR against former CM Sheila Dikshit in an alleged scam,came weeks after a complaint by Citizen’s Front for Water Democracy was submitted to the DJB. The complaint alleged irregularities in the tender process, claiming tenders were scrapped four times over a period of 18 months. The final tender was awarded at considerably higher rates, it said.
Speaking on the alleged scam, S A Naqvi, a member of the Citizen’s Front for Water Democracy, said, “Tenders were invited five times and every time, the rate for hiring a tanker was hugely escalated.Due to this fraudulent activity, financial loss of approximately Rs 400 crore was incurred, and the amount may be much more due to the increase in prices of fuel and change in rate of wages”.
The tender was awarded and the conditions were relaxed further and undue advantages were favoured to companies/consortium, the period of service and operation was increased to 10 years, penalty charges were reduced, among other changes,” said Naqvi.
The tender was awarded at Rs 637.23 crore for 385 tankers, for a period of 10 years, claimed the complaint.
In August 2016, ACB officials questioned former chief minister Sheila Dikshit’s alleged role in the case.
It was in this connection that,”Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s private secretary Vaibhav Kumar summoned for the questioning at 11.30am at the ACB office. His questioning is currently underway,”said a senior officer.
Kumar had been asked to bring some files and they are being examined.
The ACB had recorded sacked Delhi minister Kapil Mishra’s detailed statement last week and he will be questioned on certain points on Thursday.
Kapil Mishra had alleged that Kejriwal had influenced the probe into the tanker scam that dates back to Sheila Dikshit’s tenure as chief minister. The sacked minister also claimed that Kejriwal’s aide had asked him to delay sending of a few reports to the then Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung in connection with the alleged scam, sources said.
Mishra said he had shared all the evidence related to the tanker scam with the ACB. “I told the officials how chief minister Arvind Kejriwal deliberately delayed the report and how public money was misused.”
“Also, I told them how Kejriwal along with his two men affected the tanker scam probe. The government also tried to shield Sheila Dikshit time and again. ACB will call me again for a detailed investigation,” he told reporters after the meeting.
Mishra had alleged that the investigation into the tanker scam was repeatedly delayed and influenced by Kejriwal and “his two men”.
Till some time back, Mishra had been accusing the BJP of shielding Dikshit in the case but a couple of weeks back, he alleged that the AAP government tried to protect her.
ACB sources said they are taking Mishra’s detailed statement and would call CM Kejriwal for questioning at a later stage. On May 8, Mishra had posed for photographers during his visit to the ACB headquarters.
Mishra had showed a sealed envelope he reportedly later submitted to the ACB. “Confidential. Role of Arvind Kejriwal and his close associates in tanker scam,” read the envelope.
Speaking to a news agency, the former Delhi CM denied any wrongdoing and said Mishra’s going to ACB was an internal dispute of the Aam Aadmi Party.