In a development that will likely to add another twist to the ongoing friction between the Narendra Modi government and ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) dispensation in Delhi, the CBI has sought Union Home Ministry’s nod to prosecute Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s former principal secretary Rajendra Kumar, who was arrested by the law enforcement agency earlier this year on corruption charges. According to The Indian Express report, the CBI is leaned to have claimed that they have sufficient material evidence to chargesheet Kumar and others. Among them are reportedly audio recordings that the CBI claims to have seized from Kumar’s computer during raids last year. According to the CBI, the audio clips contain Kumar’s instructions to “influence and manipulate” contracts in favour of Endeavour Systems Private Limited (ESPL). It is mandatory for the agency to seek sanction before filing a chargesheet against government officials.
Rajendra Kumar was among five persons arrested by CBI today in a graft case, sparking a vicious attack by a livid AAP on the Centre, accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of taking revenge for Delhi poll loss. As the arrests over allegedly showing undue favours to a private company in award of government contracts worth over Rs 50 crore triggered a full-blown confrontation between the Centre and the AAP, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said never has any central government “stooped to such low level”. Kumar, however, was granted bail by a Special court. Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar gave the relief to Rajendra Kumar on furnishing of a personal bond of Rs one lakh. The court directed that Kumar will not try to contact any witness and will not influence the ongoing probe in the case.
Kumar is a 1989-batch IAS officer of UT cadre and was named by the CBI along with four others for allegedly showing undue favours to ESPL in award of government contracts worth over Rs 50 crore. In its FIR, the CBI noted that four contracts were given to ESPL. These included projects for Delhi Transport Limited when Rajender Kumar was the chairman and managing director of DTL, for the Health Department when Kumar was health secretary, for the VAT Department when Kumar was commissioner of trade and taxes, and for Delhi Jal Board when he was secretary, Urban Development. Government sources said the Department of Personnel and Training would be consulted before sanction is granted to the CBI. “We will examine the evidence presented by the CBI against Kumar and may seek clarifications from the agency,” said a senior government official on condition of anonymity, the report said.
Besides Kumar, CBI has arrested former Deputy Secretary in Kejriwal’s office Tarun Sharma, Kumar’s alleged close aide Ashok Kumar, Managing Director of a PSU, R S Kaushik.