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Delhi government suspends three transport officials

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New Delhi: The Delhi government on Saturday suspended three transport department officials over alleged corruption in issuing fresh Letters Of Intents (LOIs) for three-wheelers. BJP’s Delhi unit chief Satish Upadhyay demanded state Transport Minister Gopal Rai’s resignation over the alleged auto-rickshaw permit scam.

The three officials — Deputy Commissioner (auto-rickshaw unit) Roy Biswas, inspector Manish Puri, and Anil Yadav, a clerk — were placed under suspension with immediate effect after a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday morning.

Transport Minister Gopal Rai in a statement said he received some complaints on Wednesday over irregularities in issuance of LOIs to auto drivers at the transport department’s Burari authority.

“I held a meeting with the joint commissioner (transport) and other senior officers on the next day (Thursday), and issued directions to inquire into the matter,” Rai said.

Kejriwal received an SMS from some auto-rickshaw drivers regarding certain irregularities in the distribution of LOIs on Friday evening.

The chief minister convened a meeting with his cabinet ministers and senior government officials on Saturday, leading to the suspension of the three officials.

Reacting to the issue, Delhi BJP Chief Upadhyay asked Rai to resign.

“We have requested Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung to seek a report from the transport department on the issue and the investigation should be handed over to the Anti-Corruption Branch,” Upadhyay said.

Upadhyay said Kejriwal was also involved in the scam and the BJP would protest against him on Monday at the Delhi Secretariat.

“The Kejriwal government is completely involved in corruption and it has increased so much that this government is playing fraud with its own supporters, the auto drivers of Delhi,” he said.

He said that previously corruption was committed through touts in the transport department, but now their place has been taken by volunteers and legislators of the AAP.

Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) backed the government’s move and said the party was “proud of the government”.

AAP’s media coordinator Deepak Bajpai said: “We are so proud of the government that it swiftly takes action against corruption. The CM just got a message regarding the corruption being done in the department and he swiftly acted against (the) people involved.”

“This sends a clear message that the government will not spare anyone involved in the corruption,” he added.

The transport minister had made a preliminary inquiry in which two kinds of irregularities were revealed — the LOIs were issued on pick-and-choose basis despite orders of the minister to follow chronological order and the LOIs were being handed over to certain intermediaries/unauthorized people instead of beneficiaries/applicants.

All 932 LOIs issued by the transport department till date have been scrapped, and the exercise of issuing LOIs has been put on hold.

“The matter has been referred to the vigilance department of the Delhi government for further inquiry. The matter will be referred to the CBI for investigation if so warranted on the basis of a report of vigilance department,” Rai added. (IANS)(Photo: elderaldridge.wordpress.com)

 

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Algeria Embarking ‘Clean Hands’ Campaign Against Corruption, Questions Tycoons

Corruption is a major complaint of the masses of protesters who helped drive longtime leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika from office earlier this month

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algeria, clean hands campaign, corruption
FILE - Protestors carry a large flag and chant slogans during a demonstration against the country's leadership, in Algiers, April 12, 2019. VOA

Algerian authorities are embarking on a “Clean Hands” campaign aimed at rooting out corruption that has been linked to top tycoons and current and former government officials. Corruption is a major complaint of the masses of protesters who helped drive longtime leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika from office earlier this month. New protests are scheduled for Friday.

Several influential Algerians have been questioned or arrested in recent days. Among them is Issad Rebrab, head of Algeria’s biggest private conglomerate Cevital, who is suspected of possible customs-related violations and other financial wrongdoing, according to prosecutors.

Rebrab, 75, is estimated by Forbes to be Algeria’s richest man and employs 18,000 workers in his agribusiness empire. He tweeted that he went in voluntarily for police questioning. He was questioned for six hours before being taken to the El Harrach prison.

clean hands campaign, corruption
Corruption is a major complaint of the masses of protesters who helped drive longtime leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika from office earlier this month. VOA

Others targeted include a legislator accused of accepting bribes from a Chinese company. Also detained for questioning this week were three wealthy brothers believed close to Bouteflika’s brother Said, and seven Industry Ministry officials suspected of “non respect of contractual commitments with state enterprises” and influence trading.

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The Kouninef brothers’ lawyers said they are respecting the legal procedures but need time to consult the case files before commenting. The brothers made their fortune in the oil, food and advertising businesses.

The highest court in Algeria announced in a statement Wednesday that it is considering a case against ex-energy minister Chakib Khelil for acts related to “violations of foreign exchange laws and transfers of capital to foreigners.” Khelil is a close friend of Bouteflika and a high school classmate. Other former ministers are also targeted. (VOA)