Monday, June 17, 2024

Delhi CM seeks probe by Vigilance Department into corruption allegations against Chief Secy

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has sent a complaint to the Vigilance Minister for investigation into the alleged benefits of Rs 315 crore provided by Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar to his son in land acquisition for the Dwarka Expressway, said an official.

“A complaint was made to Chief Minister Kejriwal regarding the alleged corruption involving Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar on October 24. It was alleged that the Chief Secretary benefited his son’s company of Rs 315 crore,” said a source.

“There are allegations of irregularities in land acquisition on the Dwarka Expressway. The Chief Minister has sent the complaint to the Minister of Vigilance for a detailed inquiry in the matter,” said the official.

Earlier, the Delhi High Court has nullified an award of over Rs 300 crore issued by District Magistrate (DM) Hemant Kumar, who was suspended from his position, in a matter of compensation for land acquisition in Bamnoli village, southwest Delhi on Dwarka Expressway.

Kumar, a 2013-batch Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer, had increased the compensation amount for a 19-acre land acquisition by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) from Rs 41.5 crore to Rs 353.8 crore during his tenure as the DM of southwest Delhi.

The High Court’s decision was based on the observation that the DM had made this award without giving the NHAI an opportunity to refute the additional documents submitted by the awardee, Subhash Chand Kathuria, a fact admitted by Kathuria’s counsel in court.

The court held that the award was issued in blatant violation of the principles of natural justice and contained patent illegalities.

The implementation of this award would have imposed an additional financial burden of Rs. 312.3 crore on the government.

Notably, the DM had passed the award in May and sought endorsement from the Divisional Commissioner (DC). However, Ashwani Kumar, the DC, promptly highlighted the misconduct, describing the enhancement of compensation as a “gross blunder” that could have adverse consequences on planned urbanisation and development. Following this, the Chief Secretary, Naresh Kumar, endorsed the DC’s views and directed an inquiry into the matter within a week by the Directorate of Vigilance.

With the approval of Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor, V.K. Saxena, a CBI inquiry was recommended to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs on September 20 along with departmental action against Kumar. The Union Ministry of Home Affairs referred the case to the CBI for investigation on October 20 and concurrently, Kumar was transferred to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands on October 19.

He was subsequently placed under suspension with immediate effect on October 20.

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