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AAP govt needles Congress, orders probe into CWG project scam
Under pressure to act against the previous Congress government in Delhi over the Commonwealth Games scam, the Aam Aadmi Party government on Thursday forwarded files relating to the scam to the anti-corruption bureau and asked it look into the allegations against former chief minister Sheila Dikshit.
Also, the Delhi government, Monday, wrote to President Pranab Mukherjee seeking action against Sheila Dikshit for allegedly trying to gain political mileage by granting regularisation certificates to unauthorised colonies in the Capital.
Kejriwal had earlier said he had proof of wrongdoings during CWG and had prepared a report but nobody was named in it. “In November 2010, I had prepared a 370-page report on the CWG scam which contains evidence on corrupt practices during CWG. It doesn’t mention any names. It was based on newspaper reports,” he said.
In the other decision further needling the Congress, the government, which survives on Congress support, recommended to the Lt Governor setting up of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the 1984 anti-Sikh riots with a time frame of one year to submit its report.
Quickly acting on the directive of the government, the Anti-Corruption Branch lodged an FIR in the street light project but did not name Dikshit who was indicted by the High Level Committee headed by former CAG V K Shunglu which had said that “unusual interest” was displayed by her in awarding the contract.
The CAG had also, in a report in 2011, observed that “the decision to use imported luminaries on selected category of roads was not based on technical parameters, but was taken with the active involvement of the Chief Minister; this resulted in avoidable expenditure of more than Rs 30 crore”.
The FIR invokes IPC provisions relating to cheating and criminal conspiracy and corruption under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Sources said Dikshit’s name could be included at a later stage if necessary.
The filing of the FIR in the case came hours after the Delhi Cabinet asked the ACB to thoroughly investigate the “scam” based on “strong findings” in it by CAG and Shunglu Committee appointed by the Prime Minister.
“The ACB has been directed to conduct an independent and thorough investigation and take action. The ACB will file an FIR. Our motive is not to target a particular person,” senior Minister Manish Sisodia said.
Law Minister Somnath Bharti said a number of Commonwealth Games related projects that were implemented during the reign of Dikshit will be probed by the ACB which functions under the Delhi Government.
This is the second action against Dikshit by Kejriwal government this week. On Monday, it had recommended to President Pranab Mukherjee to issue an “advisory” to Dikshit based on a Lokayukta order for alleged wrongdoings in grant of provisional regularisation certificates to unauthorised colonies in 2008.
The Congress reacted with anger saying AAP was indulging in witch-hunting and was trying to divert the attention of the people from its governance failures.
Sisodia said investigation into the street lighting scam was closed at the level of preliminary inquiry though there were “strong findings” in the case by CAG and Shunglu Committee.
“It was strongly mentioned in the reports that many ineligible companies were made eligible through back doors and contracts were given to them. The then government had wasted Rs 31 crore,” alleged Sisodia.
On the SIT probe into the anti-Sikhs killing, the cabinet decided that it will recommend to Lt Governor Najeeb Jung the formation of a SIT.
“Under the SIT probe, all those cases which were closed or shown untraced would be re-opened, re-investigated and if need arises would also file fresh FIRs,” Sisodia said.
“In those cases where investigations have been completed, charge sheets would be filed,” he said. Sisodia said that police officers from outside Delhi would be given the responsibility to conduct the inquiry.
On probe into the street light scam, the government said the contract was given to SpaceAge Switch Gears Ltd after it made a plea to the then Chief Minister. Earlier the firm was disqualified.
Quoting from the Shunglu Committee report, the government said the “whole method of awarding work to SpaceAge Switch Gears Ltd, smells criminal conspiracy.”
“From out of nowhere, the idea of using imported luminaries was brought in. They were three times more expensive than domestic luminaries. The wattage and lux level of both were the same. The successful contractor made a ‘killing’ by bidding much more than the price at which they imported the luminaries,” it said.
After taking over, Kejriwal had announced that his government will investigate all corruption cases, particularly the CWG scam.
In the 70-member Delhi Assembly, eight Congress MLAs are giving outside support to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government which currently has 27 MLAs after expulsion of rebel legislator Vinod Kumar Binny. The government has also been given outside support by a Janata Dal(United) MLA and an Independent.
Three agencies, PWD, MCD and NDMC had carried out the street lighting project on around 800 km of road at a total cost of Rs 286 crore.