Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Delhi govt refers Dwarka Expressway project case involving Chief Secy Naresh Kumar to CBI

A day after the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal sent Vigilance Minister Atishi’s report in connection with the alleged corruption charges against Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar in the Dwarka Expressway project, to Lieutenant Governor (L-G) V.K. Saxena, the Delhi government on Thursday referred the matter to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), sources said.

According to sources, the Delhi government has referred the matter of Rs 850 crore land acquisition scam in Dwarka Expressway project to the CBI.

The source said that the matter has been referred to CBI and also to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) after the go ahead by Chief Minister Kejriwal.

Delhi Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar is accused of inflating the cost of land 22 times to benefit a company linked to his son Karan Chauhan. The source said that the associated matter of acquisition of the land in 2015 at 7 per cent of circle rate by the same company has been referred to ED to investigate the money laundering charge.

On Wednesday, Kejriwal referred the matter to Lt. Governor and also recommendedthe Chief Secretary’s immediate removal from the post with suspension, and had also directed Atishi to send the report to the CBI and ED.

The development comes two day after Atishi, who initiated an inquiry against Kumar, submitted a 670-page preliminary report to Kejriwal on Tuesday.

In the report, it is alleged that investigation has found that Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar benefited a company linked to his son with Rs 850 crore illicit profits, sources said.

The source said that Atishi submitted the preliminary report to Kejriwal on the alleged involvement of Naresh Kumar in enhancing an exorbitant compensation award for a land parcel in Bamnoli village in order to provide illicit profit to a company linked to his son, Karan Chauhan.

The source said that the preliminary report, that runs into 670 pages, brings out several incriminating facts and states that the “connections and the chronology give the prima facie appearance of complicity” of Naresh Kumar with District Magistrate (Southwest) Hemant Kumar and landowners in the land acquisition on the Dwarka Expressway.

The source further said that the report also unveils a conspiracy by senior officers of the Vigilance Department, including the Chief Secretary, to undervalue the scale of the scam as Rs 312 crore, when the actual compensation award would have resulted in an illicit gain of Rs 850 crore to the beneficiaries.

The source said that the report states: “Being the most salient fact pertaining to this scam, the possibility of this being an oversight by all the officers of the DOV (Department of Vigilance) that signed on the report, including the Chief Vigilance Officer and Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar, seems suspect. This prima-facie points to an attempt to hide the scale of this corruption so as to prevent scrutiny of persons involved in giving effect to it.”

The source said that on the basis of this inquiry, Atishi recommended to the Chief Minister for immediate removal of Naresh Kumar and Ashwani Kumar from their posts so that they do not influence the probe. She also urged the CM that files related to this matter be seized from them to prevent any tampering or destruction of evidence.

The source said that the minister had recommended for disciplinary proceedings against Naresh Kumar and Ashwani Kumar and also recommended that this report be sent to the CBI to provide the agency with a complete view of the facts discovered herein to expand the scope of the existing CBI inquiry to investigate the complicity of the Chief Secretary and Divisional Commissioner with Hemant Kumar and the landowners.

The source said that Atishi had also said that a reference be made to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) apprising it of the likelihood of the commission of offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 in the chain of transactions, from the purchase of the land by the landowners in 2015 leading up to the illegal compensation awarded for its acquisition in 2023.

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