Markandey Katju: Instead of abusing Modi, it’s time for Kejriwal to answer these hard questions

Markandey Katju: Instead of abusing Modi, it's time for Kejriwal to answer these hard questions
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Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal has long been grandstanding about his honesty and transparency. He must answer now why, despite receiving several complaints from various sources about the alleged corrupt dealings of Rajinder Kumar, he appointed the bureaucrat to high posts and ultimately as his principal secretary. Silence is not an option for the leader of the Aam Aadmi Party. Otherwise, his claim of being a person of integrity will be  grossly compromised.

It has been reported that the recent raids at 14 locations across Delhi by the Central Bureau of Investigation were related to a complaint in June to the city’s Anti-Corruption Branch by Ashish Joshi, who was unceremoniously removed as member secretary of AAP’s Delhi Dialogue Commission.

Joshi had accused Rajinder Kumar of setting up private firms and awarding them contracts worth more than Rs 50 crore without calling for bids. Joshi alleged that the firms were set up when Kumar was secretary (Information Technology) and later as chairman and managing director (Delhi Transco, the state power transmission company), secretary (Health) and commissioner (value added tax).

Earlier, in May, Transparency International had informed Kejriwal about the serious allegations against Rajinder Kumar, but apparently Kejriwal did not even respond.

Kejriwal must answer:

1 Why did he not respond to Transparency International?

2 On receiving the information, did he conduct a secret investigation into these allegations?

3 If not, why not ?

The public is entitled to know.

There are serious allegations  about diversion of government funds by Rajinder Kumar during his previous assignments to shell-companies owned by his relatives.

It is alleged that Rajendra Kumar formed a software company named Endeavors Systems Pvt Ltdalong with some associates. In 2007, when he became Secretary (IT) in the Delhi government, this company was empanelled as a public sector unit as Intelligent Communication Systems India Limited. This helped the company secure huge contracts without going through the tendering process.

The complaints also alleged that as director of education (technical and training) from May 2002 to February 2005 and commissioner (VAT), Rajendra Kumar had set up various companies to award work orders of departments without tenders, which caused  huge financial losses to the Delhi government

Kejriwal claims that the charges against Rajinder Kumar were just an excuse for the CBI raid on the Delhi state secretariat on Tuesday, and the real target was the chief minister. If that was so, on hearing of the CBI raid, Kejriwal should immediately have announced that he would cooperate in the investigation, instead of calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi a psychopath and doing other dramatics.

The CBI had obtained search warrants from the competent court, not from the government. So where is the vendetta?

These are some of the charges so far:

1 Rajendra Kumar is alleged to be involved in the Rs 100-crore CNG Fitness scam, involving the certification of vehicles using compressed natural gas.

2 From 2002 to 2014, he allegedly allotted contracts worth Rs 100 crore for information technology projects without any tenders.

He allegedly formed bogus companies (for example, Endeavour Systems India Pvt Ltd) and appointed his relatives as directors of this companies. A Rs.100 crore project  was allegedly allotted to these companies.

Ashish Joshi had complained to the Anti Corruption Bureau in July 2015 and the ACB had forwarded the complaint to the CBI, which was investigating the case from that time along with the ACB. The ACB formally questioned Rajendra Kumar last week back and the entire investigation was already in progress when the raids took place.

Was Kejriwal totally unaware of all this ?

It is time for Kejriwal to answer.