CAG audit into alleged 'irregularities' in renovation of Kejriwal's official residence
Reacting sharply, the AAP called the decision “a brazen misuse of Central agencies by the BJP, which was disappointed at the emerging prospect of losing next year’s Lok Sabha elections”.
NEW DELHI: Acting on the Centre’s recommendation, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) will initiate a probe into the expenses incurred in the renovation of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s official residence, sources said on Monday.
The move has come after the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) recommended CAG to conduct a “special audit” after taking note of a letter from L-G VK Saxena where he alleged irregularities and violations in the reconstruction of the CM’s residence complex.
Reacting sharply, the AAP called the decision “a brazen misuse of Central agencies by the BJP, which was disappointed at the emerging prospect of losing next year’s Lok Sabha elections”. “Conducting a CAG inquiry is a prerogative of an elected government, and by interfering in the affairs of the Delhi government, the Central government is violating constitutional principles,” the party said.
The development comes a month after a report from the Delhi government’s own vigilance department where it flagged several “irregularities” in the renovation undertaken in 2020. In its report, which came out in May, the department had highlighted huge money spent on home interior, which includes designer accessories and fittings worth Rs 48 lakh, artistic and ornamental work amounting to Rs 5 crore, marble work worth Rs 2.4 crore, a sauna bath and jacuzzi worth Rs 20 lakh, and a fancy modular kitchen worth over Rs 1 crore, among other expenses.
Saxena claimed that due to gross financial irregularities in the name of “addition/alteration”, the cost of renovation went up to `53 crore from an estimated sum of Rs 15-20 crore, according to his letter to the MHA. According to the report, the department had pegged the total cost of renovating the CM’s official residence at Rs 33.49 crore and the camp office at Rs 19.22 crore. Besides, the report also flagged environmental violations, including the felling of trees, and claimed that several rules were flouted during the renovation.
What vigilance dept says
- Initial plan was to provide additional accommodation in the CM residence
- Later, proposal approved by gov for new construction after demolition of existing building
- To bypass PWD principal secretary who has the power to give sanction above Rs 10 cr, split sanction of amount less than Rs 10 cr obtained on every occasion
- To avoid taking approval from Competent Authority for axing/transplantation more than 10 trees at a time, as per Delhi Preservation of Trees Act, 1994, split approvals taken five times for axing/transplantation of 28 trees