Snub for Centre
In a major setback to Central Government on Wednesday, Delhi High Court refused to stay the proceedings of Commission of Inquiry constituted by Delhi government to probe the CNG fitness scam. The two-judge bench clubbed this case with the non-bailable warrant (NBW) issued against the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Chief MK Meena with the petition of Delhi government challenging Gazette Notification of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on May 21 related to the powers of Lieutenant Governor. In 2012, RTI activist Vivek Garg approached the ACB with documents he had procured under the Act. The ACB registered a case and began investigations.
The director of ESP USA in India, Nitin <g data-gr-id="39">Manawat</g>, and three others were arrested for allegedly creating the fake “ESP India” company. Senior Delhi Transport Department officials, including MA Usmani, VK <g data-gr-id="30">Gupta</g> and Ashok Gupta, too were arrested subsequently. Usmani’s interrogation threw up names of senior IAS and DANICS officers and central government ministers. Eleven people were accused in all. What has the ACB found so far? That the Rs 100 crore that ESP India Pvt Ltd received was never given to the Delhi <g data-gr-id="37">government,</g> and was instead siphoned off, and that senior officials had signed tender documents despite the fact that the tender had been given to a different company.
The BJP’s Union government and the Delhi administration must reveal whether the CBI has recommended strict action and imposition of major penalty against the city’s top bureaucrats, including the Delhi Chief Secretary in an Rs 100 crore scam by awarding a contract in violation of rules to a private firm for conducting fitness tests of commercial vehicles. The silence of the erstwhile Central government and the Lieutenant Governor on the reported indictment of top city bureaucrats by the CBI in what is commonly known as the 2002 CNG fitness scam gives rise to reasonable apprehensions that people of Delhi are being cheated by an unaccountable administration and taxpayers’ money is being looted without any fear.
The Aam Aadmi Party government had directed the Delhi’s Anti-Corruption Wing (ACB) in January to provide all the relevant documents to the CBI, when the investigating agency had registered a preliminary enquiry and sought all such documents from the ACB. It is shocking that indicted bureaucrats are continuing in top administrative positions and the BJP’s central government, which is indirectly controlling Delhi, appears to be turning a blind eye towards the multi-crore scams committed during the Sheila Dikshit government’s tenure. If news reports are to be believed the CBI has sent a report to the Union Home Ministry and Delhi’s Department of vigilance asking for departmental action and further inquiries against three top bureaucrats, including the present Chief Secretary? It is strange that the BJP, whose party leaders run to Union ministers on all matters related to the national capital, chose a bureaucrat indicted by the CBI to be reappointed as chief secretary and are now feigning ignorance about the scam. The inquiry also puts the BJP in an awkward position.
The party was vocal for a probe into the scam when Dikshit was in power but now calls AAP’s insistence on the probe “retrogressive” and “stubborn”. The BJP is backtracking lest the inquiry embarrasses Jung, who is seen as its ally against the AAP government. Delhi, it seems, is in for another entertaining political slugfest.