New Delhi: In ongoing confrontation between Delhi Chief Minister and Lieutenant Governor over probe into the 2002 CNG fitness scam, in which a number of officials of the erstwhile Sheila Dikshit regime were under the scanner, the Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday called Delhi government’s inquiry into the scam “legally invalid”.
The Ministry of Home Affairs said only the probe ordered by Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung in the case is valid. Jung had sought Centre's opinion on the AAP government’s decision to conduct a probe into the CNG fitness scam.
The Lieutenant Governor Office issued a statement saying, “It has been clarified that the Delhi government is not the competent authority to set up such an inquiry under various provisions of the Constitution and the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952. The notification issued by the Delhi government has therefore been declared legally invalid and void ab initio.”
Jung also stated that Anti-Corruption Branch of Delhi government is looking into the entire matter afresh and notices have been issued by the to all concerned, including government officers named in the original complaint.
The Anti-Corruption Branch has been asked to complete the investigation on priority.
Earlier, Delhi government issued a notification to reopen and reinvestigate the CNG fitness scam and asked Anti-Corruption Branch to do it. But when Joint Commissioner of Police M K Meena took charge over the Anti-Corruption Branch, Arvind Kejriwal decided to set up a judicial commission to probe the scam.
He decided to constitute a Commission of Inquiry into the CNG vehicle fitness scam even without apparently having the power to order such a probe by a retired judge.
Kejriwal said the one-man probe panel, being set up under Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952, will investigate all aspects of the scam. It will be headed by Justice (Retd) S N Agarwal, a former judge of Delhi and Madhya Pradesh High Courts.
The decision of the Kejriwal government to constitute the inquiry comes a few days after the Anti-Corruption Bureau summoned the Chief Minister’s top aide Rajender Kumar, IAS, in connection with the scam. Kumar earlier served in the transport department.
The CNG fitness scam surfaced in 2012 when ACB found that the Delhi government had lost over Rs 100 crore by awarding the contract to operate and maintain certification of CNG vehicles at the transport authority in Burari to ESP India Pvt Ltd instead of ESP USA.
The scam relates to alleged wrong doings in selection of a firm to conduct fitness checks of CNG-run vehicles and a committee headed by a former high court chief justice has already given a clean chit to all government functionaries