Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar, Deputy Secretary Tarun Sharma and three others — arrested in an alleged corruption case — were sent to CBI custody for five days by a city court Tuesday.
Special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar allowed the remand after CBI standing counsel Sonia Mathur told the court that new evidence had surfaced and it could “lead to charges of forgery and cheating being added.”
The CBI had earlier filed a plea seeking 10-day custody of the accused, claiming new evidence was likely to lead investigators to the “trail of money” involved in the alleged conspiracy.
When the judge asked why Kumar and the others had been arrested now, seven months after the FIR was filed, the CBI said custodial interrogation of the accused was required because Kumar, as a senior public servant, had “intimidated witnesses” from various government departments. The CBI claimed Kumar had “pressured them to not cooperate”, making it “impossible for the CBI to investigate.”
The agency has also alleged that the five accused — Kumar, Sharma, ESPL directors Sandeep Kumar, Dinesh Gupta and Ashok Kumar — were not cooperating with the probe, and needed to be confronted with the statements given by their co-accused.
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In December, CBI had registered an FIR on charges of criminal conspiracy under IPC Section 120 B and sections related to criminal misconduct under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Senior advocate Ramesh Gupta, representing Deputy Secretary Tarun Sharma, argued that all the accused had been cooperating with the investigation, and the CBI would “force” his client to sign various statements in custody.
Senior advocate Mohit Mathur, representing Kumar, claimed there was no link between his client and Endeavor Systems Pvt Ltd (ESPL), which has been accused of receiving undue favours and funds. “ESPL had contract with the ICSIL, which is a Government of India Enterprise,” said Mathur, adding that senior ICSIL officials were “not being touched” by the CBI.
CBI prosecutor V K Ojha claimed the government had “created a media hype as if Kumar was the sheshnag holding up the government on his head… as if (if) he goes, the government will go.”
The five accused are scheduled to be produced before the court Sunday.
CHARGES AGAINST THE ACCUSED
Rajendra Kumar, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister: Accused of “key role” and “active bribery” in facilitating and processing award of tender to predetermined party, i,e co-accused company Endeavor Systems Pvt Ltd. The CBI has claimed he helped the company procure tenders worth Rs 9.4 crore, and used his influence as a senior bureaucrat to manipulate conditions of advertisements and tenders in favour of ESPL.
Tarun Sharma, Deputy Secretary, Government of Delhi: Accused of “preparing false information” document given to decide the software to be installed in Trade and Taxes department, while posted as assistant VAT officer in 2012. Also accused of “sharing information” regarding queries raised by VAT officer regarding capacity of m/s ESPL and enabling Rajendra Kumar to participate in creating the reply documents.
Ashok Kumar, associated with ESPL: Allegedly former schoolmate of Kumar. Alleged to be “instrumental” in securing bribes from corporate entities on behalf of Kumar. The CBI claims he was the “conduit” between ESPL and Kumar.
Dinesh Kumar Gupta, director, ESPL: Alleged to be part of the criminal conspiracy in connivance with Rajendra Kumar.
Sandeep Kumar, director, ESPL: Allegedly a co-conspirator and beneficiary of the manipulated tender process.
Endeavor Systems Pvt Ltd: Allegedly received benefit of manipulated tender process. Money from government contracts also allegedly siphoned off and diverted to other companies/entities.
A K Duggal, G K Nanda, R S Kaushik, managing directors, Intelligent Communication Systems India Ltd: Mentioned in the FIR and the remand application by the CBI as co-conspirators in the case. Not under arrest.