More than five months after the Ministry of Home Affairs said it had cleared a proposal granting prosecution sanction against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s former principal secretary Rajendra Kumar in a corruption case, the CBI said they have not received any order from the MHA. The delay could result in a major setback to the prosecution case against Kumar and others before the trial court.
Officials said the CBI had approached the home ministry on December 2, 2016, seeking sanction to prosecute Kumar, a 1989-batch UT cadre IAS officer.
A week later, the agency filed a chargesheet against Kumar and others before a Delhi court. In February this year, the ministry, in a statement, claimed the sanction had been approved.
Under the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) act, a sanction from the government is mandatory for the agency to prosecute any public servant facing corruption charges. “The framing of charges against the suspect may suffer in absence of a sanction and it may lead to delays,” said a CBI official.
To fasten the trial in corruption cases against public servants, the Supreme Court, in 1997, introduced guidelines fixing the “time limit of three months for grant of sanction for prosecution…”
The case against Kumar and others was registered in December, 2015, following which he was arrested by the CBI in July last year and later granted bail. Kumar later applied for voluntary retirement that was reportedly turned down by the MHA.
Officials of the Central Vigilance Commission, which advises the government on corruption cases against public servants, also confirmed that a “sanction against Kumar is pending with the home ministry”.
A home ministry spokesperson, however, maintained that the decision on granting sanction against Kumar has already been taken and processed, but they are inquiring into the delay, if any.
In its chargesheet, the CBI had alleged that the accused persons had entered into a criminal conspiracy to cause a loss of Rs 12 crore to the Delhi government in award of contracts between 2007 and 2015.
Kumar was charged by the CBI with criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery under the Indian Penal Code, besides provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act, along with eight others and Endeavour Systems Private Limited (ESPL). The agency also cited a purported audio recordings that they claimed was seized from Kumar’s computer during the raids in 2015.
The corruption case and CBI’s raid against Kumar in 2015 snowballed into major controversy, with the Aam Aadmi Party claiming Kumar was being used as an “excuse” by the Centre to target Kejriwal. Later, Kumar wrote in a blog post: “It is clear that they understand that the chargesheet filed is going to fail and therefore the only way to continue to threaten the people is to misuse the provisions of Criminal Procedure Code.”