Bamnoli land case: Delhi govt accuses L-G of protecting his ‘favourite’ officers
New Delhi: Hours after Delhi Lieutenant Governor V.K. Saxena hit back at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and minister Atishi over the report on the Bamnoli land case, Delhi government hit back, saying that it is a brazen attempt on the part of the L-G to protect his “favourite” officers, namely Chief Secretary Narensh Kumar and Divisional Commissioner Ashwini Kumar.
Delhi government in response to the L-G’s note in connection with the Bamnoli land acquisition matter said, “This is a brazen attempt on the part of the L-G to protect his favourite officers, namely the Chief Secretary and Divisional Commissioner.”
“If they have done nothing wrong, why is the L-G obstructing an inquiry against them? The Vigilance Minister’s (Atishi) report was prompted because of a whistleblower’s complaint and media reports highlighting the Chief Secretary’s role in the scam. Yet, the L-G chose to launch a political attack on the government itself,” AAP said.
The Delhi government also said that in all fairness, all available evidence should be forwarded to the CBI to enable the agency to conduct an impartial inquiry.
It further said that it is a matter of fact that the Chief Secretary’s son is an employee and a director in beneficiary company.
“We are surprised that the L-G finds nothing unusual in the fact that the 30-year-old son of the Chief Secretary is a director in a web of companies, many of which are registered in the same address, have same email ID and have the same set of people as directors working in diverse sectors, such as infrastruture, healthcare, waste management, real estate etc.
“Interestingly, most of these companies have their business footprint in Delhi, where the Chief Secretary is the head of bureaucracy, and strangely, the companies become beneficiaries of several government contracts and largesse,” the Delhi government said.
It wondered if the L-G thinks this is all normal and the Chief Secretary has no role to play in it.
“It is also a matter of fact that the Chief Secretary appointed Hemant Kumar as the new DM of Southwest soon after assuming the post. It is wrong to say that the Chief Secretary on his own recommended inquiry against the DM.
“The exorbitant compensation award by the DM was given on May 15, 2023. It was during the joint visit of Union minister Nitin Gadkari and the L-G on May 18 that Gadkari and NHAI strongly raised their objections,” the Delhi government said.
It said that left them with no option and to save their skin, the Chief Secretary and the Divisional Commissioner recommended inquiries soon after.
“Under which law does an accused go scot-free just because he orders an investigation into the crime,” the Delhi government asked.
It also claimed that the inquiry itself was compromised because the Chief Secretary, being the Chief Vigilance Officer, presided over the vigilance investigation while he himself had close connections with the beneficiaries of this scam.
“This is a clear case of ‘conflict of interest’ and a violation of the vigilance manual. Further, the inquiry sought to hide the true scale of the scam by valuing it at Rs 312 crore instead of Rs 850 crore, as was brought out in the minister’s (Atishi) report. All these important facts have been conveniently ignored by the L-G,” the Delhi government said.
“Why is the L-G so eager and impatient to give a clean chit to his favourite officers without an inquiry,” AAP asked.
“Will the LG to allow an impartial inquiry by the CBI into the matter and not pre-judge the matter and protect certain individuals because of his fondness for them,” the Delhi government asked.
The sharp reactions came after Saxena expressed surprise that the report which deals with sensitive vigilance matters and has been marked to his secretariat in a confidential cover, has surfaced in the public domain.
The L-G said that even the basic principles of inquiry have not been followed in the instant case and Vigilance Minister Atishi and Chief Minister Kejriwal have referred the matter to CBI and ED, which is beyond their competence as per law established.
Raj Bhavan sources said that in his letter to Kejriwal, Saxena said that he has received the “preliminary report” on “complaints” submitted by Atishi and endorsed by the Chief Minister.
The sources said that the L-G expressed surprise and dubbed it as unfortunate that the report which deals with sensitive vigilance related matters and has been marked to his secretariat in a confidential cover, has already been in public domain and its digital or electronic copies are freely available and details thereof have been widely reported in the media.
Saxena mentioned that he could not find any document or evidence to substantiate the claims made by Atishi.