Tuesday January 23, 2018
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Three warnings Kejriwal chose to ignore about ex-IIT batchmate Rajendra Kumar

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Since 2013, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has chosen to ignore three warnings and serious allegations of graft against his Principal Secretary and IAS officer Rajendra Kumar, raising pertinent questions over the AAP leader’s commitment to rid the country of the scourge of corruption.

After the CBI raids on Kumar, an apparently agitated Kejriwal said he would have taken action himself had he been informed about it, vowing to “not spare even my own son if accused of corruption”.

However, the India chapter of global anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI) claims it wrote to the Delhi CM in May this year urging him to probe serious allegations of corruption against Kumar. Yet, Kejriwal took no action in this regard against his former IIT batchmate.

“We had sent a letter to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in May this year after we received complaints charging IAS officer Rajendra Kumar with involvement in serious cases of graft. Though we do not wish to disclose the name of the complainant at this point of time, we have also not received any response from the CM,” TI-India Executive Director Ashutosh Sharma said on Tuesday.

Kejri doc

NewsGram spoke to TI-India Deputy Director Pankaj Kumar in this regard. However, the organization refused to share any further information than what has already been released to media, lest questions should be raised about their neutrality.

“We’re a neutral, non-government, non-party and not-for-profit organization. Therefore, we do not wish to indulge in politics. Whatever we wanted to share with regard to graft allegation against Rajendra Kumar was shared with media yesterday. We have nothing to add to what has already been conveyed, lest we should be seen taking sides,” Pankaj Kumar told NewsGram.

But this was not the first time Kejriwal was warned about Rajendra Kumar. In 2013, as Kejriwal was en route to the historic Ramlila Maidan to take an oath as the Chief Minister of Delhi, AAP volunteer Om Prakash sent an email to him raising a red flag against the IAS officer. NewsGram is in possession of the email that Kejriwal apparently chose to ignore.

“Dear Arvind Kejriwal ji, I humbly wish to bring it to your notice the IAS officer Rajendra Kumar whom you have appointed as your Principal Secretary was Education Director in Sheila Dikshit-led Delhi government. Kumar then together with Sandeep Dikshit established a computer firm, causing a loss of crores of rupees to the Education department which continues unabated till date. All relevant contracts were not allotted to the National Information Centre (NIC). Rather they appointed persons known to them in the computer department. Please look into the matter and take appropriate action, lest a corrupt official becomes part of an honest government, sabotaging its credibility,” Om Prakash wrote (in Hindi) to Kejriwal on December 27, 2013.

NewsGram spoke to Om Prakash in this regard.

“Truth is the truth and I believe that sooner or later justice gets delivered. I considered Kejriwal ji an honest person. That is why before he took the oath as Delhi Chief Minister, I warned him about Rajendra Kumar. However, surprisingly he did not take any action. In fact, when I tried to meet him later in 2014, I was forcibly shown the door of his office. I am just a common man and a teacher. I had high hopes for AAP, but it is a pity that Kejriwal chose to ignore my warnings,” Om Prakash told NewsGram.

Prakash said, apart from this, he also tried to bring to Kejriwal’s notice the alleged irregularities in purchasing of over 500 soundproof generators by Rajendra Kumar for schools in Delhi which still remain unused and in a shabby condition. He also met Education Minister Manish Sisodia in this regard in 2013.

“Sisodia told me that relevant files were missing from the Delhi Secretariat,” Om Prakash said.

Furthermore, the CBI raid reportedly came following a complaint filed in July this year with the CBI and the anti-corruption branch of the state government by former member-secretary of the Delhi Dialogue Commission (DDC) Ashish Joshi, accusing Kumar of indulging in graft. Joshi was dismissed by the AAP government after he sparred with AAP leader Ashish Khetan and was repatriated to his parent cadre; i.e. the Union Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, in May.

Kejriwal and DDC Chairman Ashish Khetan later wrote to the telecom ministry alleging that Joshi was on several occasions found smoking and chewing tobacco in his office.

However, Joshi on July 13 reportedly filed a complaint with the CBI alleging that Kumar, along with his friends “had floated a company which he later got empanelled with a public sector unit for doing works for departments without tenders.” His complaint culminated in the CBI raid on Tuesday.

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Blow for Kejriwal: EC recommends disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs

A big blow to the Aam Aadmi Party after the Election Commission recommended disqualification of 20 of its MLAs

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Arvind Kejriwal's party seems to be in trouble after the EC recommended disqualification of 20 of its MLAs. Wikimedia commons
Arvind Kejriwal's party seems to be in trouble after the EC recommended disqualification of 20 of its MLAs. Wikimedia Commons
  • The EC recommended disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs under the ‘office of profit’ pretext
  • AAP looks forward to approaching the Delhi High court
  • The controversy started after Prashant Patel had submitted an application to the President

The Election Commission has recommended the disqualification 20 AAP MLAs. The EC found them guilty of holding an ‘office of profit’. The recommendation has been sent to the President. If cleared, the disqualification would mean that AAP’s strength in Delhi Assembly will reduce from 67 to 47.

The 20 AAP legislators were accused of being unconstitutionally appointed as parliamentary secretaries to assist various ministers of the Delhi government. The EC’s opinion on this matter means that the AAP legislators are set to be disqualified, which could soon force a mini Assembly election in the national capital.

The party now looks forward to approach the Delhi High Court, pleading that the recommendation be struck down. Wikimedia Commons
The party now looks forward to approaching the Delhi High Court, pleading that the recommendation is struck down. Wikimedia Commons

“This is unprecedented. The MLAs in question didn’t get a chance to present their case before the EC. In fact, we didn’t hear the news from the EC, but news channels,” AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj said.

ALSO READ: Anna Hazare comes out in open support about Chanda Bandh Satyagraha against Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)

Opposition parties have demanded the immediate resignation of Arvind Kejriwal as chief minister of Delhi on moral ground.

The ‘office of profit’ controversy had started after a lawyer, Prashant Patel, had filed an application in 2015 to the President’s office. It questioned the appointment of AAP MLAs as parliamentary secretaries.

The Congress had filed a petition in Election Commission in 2016 as a follow-up, based on this application. The opposition party sought disqualification of 21 AAP MLAs.

Kejriwal had appointed MLAs in March 2015 and his government passed an amendment to the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997, in June 2015. Wikimedia Commons

AAP had argued that this post did not qualify as an office of profit as there is no monetary benefit attached to it. But then President Pranab Mukherjee refused to give assent, following which the appointments were set aside by the Delhi High Court in September 2016, declaring them illegal since the order had been passed “without concurrence/approval of the Lt Governor”.

ALSO READ: Discontentment in the Aam Aadmi Party is resulting in Resignation and withdrawals from the party

In the first reaction to the EC recommendation, AAP spokesperson Nagendar Sharma tweeted:

Here’s the list of 20 MLAs who have been recommended to be disqualified: 

1. Naresh Yadav (Mehrauli)
2. Som Dutt (Sadar Bazar)
3. Praveen Kumar (Jangpura)
4. Nitin Tyagi (Laxmi Nagar)
5. Adarsh Shastri (Dwarka)
6. Sanjeev Jha (Burari)
7. Jarnail Singh (Tilak Nagar)
8. Sukhvir Singh (Mundka)
9. Madan Lal (Kasturba Nagar)
10. Sarita Singh (Rohtas Nagar)
11. Alka Lamba (Chandni Chowk)
12. Rajesh Rishi (Janakpuri)
13. Anil Kumar Bajpai (Gandhi Nagar)
14. Manoj Kumar (Kondli)
15. Kailash Gahlot (Najafgarh)
16. Avtar Singh (Kalkaji)
17. Vijendar Garg Vijay (Rajinder Nagar)
18. Rajesh Gupta (Wazirpur)
19. Sharad Kumar (Narela)
20. Shiv Charan Goel (Moti Nagar)