Congress leaders Sheila Dikshit and Kiran Walia have distanced themselves from the contracts allegedly awarded by Rajendra Kumar, principal secretary to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, while he was a senior bureaucrat in government departments headed by them.
The CBI has alleged that Kumar favoured a private firm while awarding contracts worth crores. The agency’s raid on Kumar’s office Tuesday had led to a political confrontation between the BJP and the AAP.
Dikshit, Kejriwal’s predecessor, was in charge of the power ministry as well as finance, which had the department of trade and taxes and VAT under its jurisdiction. Walia was in charge of the health ministry.
The CBI has alleged that in 2009, Kumar, as chairman of Delhi Transco, allegedly facilitated the award of a project worth Rs 40.16 lakh for the development of a comprehensive management system to Endeavour Systems Private Limited, without any tendering process. It has also alleged that in 2012, as the commissioner of trade and taxes, Kumar allegedly helped Endeavour bag a contract worth Rs 3.66 crore for development of software applications for his department.
Dikshit claimed that she had no knowledge of any such contract or about files pertaining to it. “I have no idea. It (file) never came to me. It was never my job as chief minister to look into every contract. The departments and bureaucrats had enough freedom to go by the rulebook and decide on things. There are rules and regulations laid down for the process of tendering and awarding contracts. All decisions made in the power department are forwarded to senior officials and never came to me. And if these were approved, they must have been presented before the Cabinet, which must have taken the final decision. Now that somebody has complained to the authorities, there are just two options here, either there is evidence or there isn’t. The truth will come out during the inquiry,” said Dikshit.
The CBI has claimed that in 2010 Kumar, as secretary of the health department, allegedly facilitated the award of a manpower project worth Rs 2.43 crore to Endeavour. This was allegedly routed through ICSIL without any tendering.
Kiran Walia, the then health minister, said she does not remember any such file coming to her for approval. “During 2010, I was the health minister and Kumar was my secretary. I don’t recall any such file ever coming to me. However, if any such file had come to me for approval, it must have been forwarded to the Cabinet. And when a file says PSU, it does not even raise red flags,” said Walia.