Delhi lieutenant governor recommends CBI probe into purchase of buses by Kejriwal government
The Aam Aadmi Party alleged that VK Saxena was ordering enquiries to divert attention from his own corruption.
Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena has forwarded a proposal to probe alleged irregularities in the procurement of 1,000 low-floor buses by the Delhi government in 2019 and 2020 to the Central Bureau of Investigation, ANI reported on Sunday.
A complaint alleging irregularities in the procurement of the buses was received by the Lieutenant Governor’s office in July. It alleged corruption and irregularity in the appointment of the Delhi transport minister as chairman of the committee related to tendering and purchase of buses.
The complaint also alleged that the appointment of DIMTS – Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System – as the bid management consultant for this tender was done with an aim to “facilitate wrongdoing”, reported The Indian Express.
In July, the complaint was forwarded by the Lieutenant Governor to the Chief Secretary of Delhi Naresh Kumar for comments, who subsequently alleged serious discrepancies in the tender process.
“There is a gross violation of CVC [Central Vigilance Commission] guidelines and general financial rules,” the report by the chief secretary said, according to NDTV.
The tender for the purchase of buses was cancelled last year following the complaint.
The CBI is already conducting a preliminary inquiry into the annual maintainable contracts of the procurement of the buses. Saxena had now approved the clubbing of this complaint with the one already being probed, according to The Indian Express.
The development is the latest in a series of allegations that the Aam Aadmi Party and Saxena have made against each other ever since the latter ordered an enquiry against Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia in connection with the city’s new excise policy.
Leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party have accused Saxena of carrying out “political vendetta” against their government at the behest of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government.
They have also alleged Saxana of being involved in a Rs 1,400-crore scam during his term as the chairperson of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission in 2016 and offering an interior designing contract for a Khadi Lounge in Mumbai to his daughter.
The Delhi lieutenant governor has denied the allegations and has served a defamation notice to several AAP leaders.
On Sunday, AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj alleged that Saxena was ordering enquiries to divert attention from his own corruption.
“Buses were never purchased, tenders were cancelled,” Bharadwaj said during a press conference. “Delhi needs a more educated LG. This man has no clue what he is signing on.”
Kejriwal and corruption now synonymous: BJP
The BJP on Sunday claimed that since Kejriwal and corruption have become synonymous, he had no right to retain the chief minister’s post, PTI reported.
At a press conference, BJP’s national spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia alleged that every department of the Aam Aadmi Party government is involved in corrupt activities with “contracts and tenders being tailor-made to benefit the friends of Kejriwal”.
He added: “First, it was the excise policy, now there are irregularities in the purchase of buses Kejriwal and corruption have become synonymous. How can you claim to be ‘hardcore honest’? People have understood you are ‘hardcore corrupt’.”
He said Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot was made the chairperson of the committee for tendering and procurement of buses by Delhi Transport Corporation to benefit friends.
Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta, who was also at the press conference, alleged that Kejriwal violated tender guidelines of the Central Vigilance Commission to favour some companies.