The Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) of the Delhi government has questioned Rajendra Kumar, secretary to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and arguably the most powerful bureaucrat in the capital, several times in connection with the 2002 CNG fitness scam case.
Kumar was questioned by a team headed by Joint Commissioner of Police M K Meena at his office in Civil Lines in September and October, said sources.
While Meena confirmed that the ACB had questioned Kumar, he declined to disclose details. When contacted, Kumar refused to comment on the issue.
Sources in the ACB told The Indian Express that Kumar had been summoned by the agency in August and appeared before it in September. “He was questioned by Assistant Commissioner of Police Santosh Kumar in September and then again in October. He was given a questionnaire of nearly 100 questions related to the 2002 CNG fitness scam,” said the source.
During questioning, Kumar denied any involvement with the scam, said sources.
ACP Santosh Kumar asked the principal secretary why no action had been taken during his tenure as the transport commissioner in 2013, when the ACB had submitted its report on the scam.
A day before the ACB had filed the chargesheet in the CNG fitness scam case in September, Public Prosecutor Vinod Kumar Sharma, who had scrutinised the chargesheet, had alleged that pressure was being brought on him.
In a letter to Meena, Sharma had claimed that he was being “pressurised” by “some officials” of the Delhi secretariat, including Kumar, to “produce files related to the scam”. However, the Delhi government had dismissed claims levelled by the prosecutor.
The ACB is also looking into the role of two former chief secretaries — D M Spolia and P K Tripathi — in connection with the scam and it has issued summons to 16 senior officials. Two officers, Anil Chikara and former deputy commissioner (transport) A K Bisht, have already recorded their statements before the ACB.
The alleged scam took place in 2002, when the Delhi government, following a Supreme Court order, ordered fitness tests on public transport vehicles using CNG and hired ESP USA as consultant.
However, another firm, ‘ESP India Pvt Ltd’, was awarded the tender, allegedly with the collusion of officials, even before the company had been registered.
The ACB registered a case in 2012 and began its investigation. The director of ESP USA in India, Nitin Manawat, and three others were arrested for allegedly creating a fictitious ‘ESP India’ company.