Hours after Delhi’s AAP government Thursday directed the Anti-Corruption Bureau to investigate the alleged irregularities in the streetlights project implemented during the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the ACB filed an FIR in the case against the previous government of Sheila Dikshit.
Senior AAP leaders said this was just the first of many probes that would be conducted against the previous Congress government, indicating that another front was being opened in the already prickly relations between the two parties.
The AAP government has already asked for “strict action” for alleged wrongdoings by Dikshit’s government in the issuance of provisional regularisation certificates to unauthorised colonies in 2008. Thursday’s FIR was filed under sections covering cheating, criminal conspiracy and the Prevention of Corruption Act. The ACB has asked for all records and documents to carry out the investigation.
“The FIR has named those who received pecuniary benefits including contractors who supplied streetlights during the CWG,” a senior police officer said. While Dikshit has not been named in the FIR, the complaint mentions that she and her ministers were involved. The Delhi government is also considering withdrawing its petition from the high court challenging a lower court directive to the police for registration of an FIR in connection with the alleged misuse of public funds for “political publicity” by Dikshit and other officials ahead of the 2008 Assembly elections.
The AAP government maintained that since most investigations have been closed without reaching any logical and meaningful conclusion and in the absence of any concrete action by law enforcement agencies of the Central government, it is apparent that most investigations were just an eye-wash by the Centre without any intention to punish the culprits.
“The fact that these items were imported instead of using indigenous items is unwarranted. I have studied the Shunglu committee and CAG reports where some serious findings have come to light. I have found that the rates at which the street lights were procured were highly inflated as opposed to market rates,” Education Minister, Manish Sisodia said. “Moreover, non-eligible companies were given back-door entry and made eligible. The loss of Rs 31 crore is unacceptable as this is public money which could have been used elsewhere. We just want an independent probe which punishes the guilty,’’ he said.
Claiming that the inquiry into this matter was closed after a preliminary inquiry by the CBI, and that it required a further probe, a senior AAP leader said: “We will ensure a thorough investigation of all cases of corruption in CWG projects.”
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He said the ACB has been told to examine all cases of irregularities but maintained that the probe will not target “any particular individual’’. Former Congress MLA Mukesh Sharma said the party felt this was a “political move” by AAP to gain mileage before the Lok Sabha elections. “This move is politically motivated. In most cases, an inquiry is first conducted before filing an FIR but this is not the process followed in this case. This is being done to gain mileage before the Lok Sabha elections,” he said.