NEW DELHI: In a significant development, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s most trusted officer -- Principal Secretary Rajender Kumar -- has been summoned on Friday in connection with the 2002 CNG fitness scam by the city administration’s Anti-Corruption Branch headed by Joint Commissioner of Police Mukesh Kumar Meena.
Kumar was the first IAS officer, who was handpicked by Kejriwal as his Secretary during the 49-day tenure of AAP-I Government in 2013. He had been heading the Transport Department when the scam happened.
The Anti-Corruption Branch is also looking into the role of former Chief Secretaries of Delhi -- D M Spolia and P K Tripathi -- in the scam. The ACB has also issued summons to about 16 senior officials in connection with the scam. These officers have been issued summons to appear before the ACB on different dates between August 8 and September 8.
Two officers-- Anil Chikara and former Deputy Commissioner (Transport) A K Bisht had already recorded their statement before the ACB.
The scam took place in 2002, when the Delhi government, following a Supreme Court order, ordered fitness tests on public transport vehicles using CNG and hired ESP USA as consultant. However, another firm, ‘ESP India Pvt Ltd’, was awarded the tender allegedly with the collusion of officials and intention to siphon off the funds, even before the company had been registered. The government files mentioned only ‘ESP’.
In 2012, the ACB registered a case and began the investigation. The director of ESP USA in India, Nitin Manawat, and three others were arrested for allegedly creating the fictitious ‘ESP India’ company.
On June 10, 2014, Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee stated that the Delhi government had overlooked the manner in which the name of the consultant company had “metamorphosed” into another and rapped the “lackadaisical manner” in which the change was handled, but did not indict any government functionary.
Sinha Meets Kejriwal
A day after questioning the suspension of 25 Congress MPs from the Lok Sabha and praising Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha met Delhi Kejriwal on Thursday. As Sinha also praised the AAP Government in the national capital, it left the saffron party in a piquant situation.
In a nearly hour-long meeting at Kejriwal’s residence where Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and senior AAP leader Ashutosh were present, both claimed that politics was not discussed. “We want to open a film city in Delhi and that is what I discussed with Sinha in the meeting,” Kejriwal said.
“The Noida Film City plan did not work out. Kejriwal is exploring the possibility of reviving it. Delhi is often considered as a base for shooting in the Himalayas. So, even this option was explored,” a senior AAP leader said.
“His government is working fine,” Sinha said after the meeting. There was no discussion on Bihar elections or any other political subject. Apart from the possibility of opening a film city, we discussed the FTII issue. It is not a crime to meet the Delhi CM,” Sinha added.