On the brink of filing a chargesheet into the CNG fitness scam, the Delhi Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) has replaced the first investigation officer (IO) of the case, who was involved with the investigation since 2012, with an assistant commissioner of police (ACP) rank officer.
Sources in the ACB said that orders to remove the first IO, Inspector Pankaj Sharma, came last Saturday from Joint Commissioner of Police (JCP) M K Meena. “In the order, the JCP has clearly stated that the investigation officer of CNG fitness scam is now ACP Santosh Kumar and he will look after the case, instead of Inspector Sharma,” a senior ACB official said. The chargesheet is likely to be filed later this week.
According to sources, norms were not followed in replacing the IO. ACB officials said before replacing an IO from any case, the department head would have to first discuss the issue with his senior subordinates. If mistakes were found in the IO’s functioning, the head of the department has to discuss it with the IO’s immediate supervisor after moving a file with the brief facts of case along with the IO’s role.
“But in this case, no file was moved by the JCP and he has not discussed it with the Additional Commissioner of Police (ACB) S S Yadav about removing the IO,” ACB sources said.
Despite repeated calls and text messages, JCP Meena was not available for comments.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has even alleged that the filing of chargesheet in CNG scam was ‘suspicious’ as the government had commissioned an enquiry into the scam. On Wednesday, Sisodia wrote a letter to Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung on his objections against filing the chargesheet.
“In last few months, there has been direct interference by the L-G in the functioning of ACB. CBI, in its report on September 1, 2014, had raised serious questions about the role of L-G in CNG scam. On June 8, 2015, the undersigned directed reinvestigation in the case and on the same day, the L-G in completely illegal manner appointed M K Meena as chief of anti-corruption branch. Eyebrows were raised,” Sisodia wrote.
He added, “If L-G’s permission is taken in filing of chargesheet, then why was the GNCTD bypassed? The law says ACB is part of Directorate of Vigilance, then why was it bypassed? Both Meena and Yadav may be directed to file a report on this issue.”
Meanwhile, the Centre, in an affidavit to the Delhi High Court on Wednesday, accused the AAP government of “creating an unnecessary impasse in order to prevent Delhi’s Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) from functioning in accordance with law”.
On Wednesday, the court of Justice VP Vaish took the affidavit on record and has now scheduled September 9 and 10 to hear detailed arguments. Senior advocate Dayan Krishnan, who is representing the Delhi government, told the bench that a written response to the affidavit will also be filed by next week.