The Anti Corruption Branch (ACB) Thursday carried out a ‘search’ at the office of the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) following complaints filed by former DCW chairperson Barkha Shukla Singh, former chief secretary Omesh Saigal and BJP MLA Vijender Gupta.
This could further escalate the tension between the Delhi Police and the government. Earlier, the ACB had registered a complaint against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s principal secretary Rajendra Kumar after an official levelled corruption charges against him. The ACB had also summoned Water Minister Kapil Mishra in connection with the water tanker scam. The CBI raided Kumar’s office in December last year and arrested him last month.
Lashing out at Singh, who now leads the Delhi Congress’ women’s wing, DCW chairperson Swati Maliwal said, “In nine years (as DCW chief) Barkha Shukla Singh worked only on one case. She got a salary from the DCW and the salary of an MLA but she was never questioned. Is this not corruption? In the last one year, I have worked on 400 cases, made more than 50 visits and more than 40 recommendations. We are being questioned because we are working.”
ACB officials, however, claimed they had intimated the DCW that they would be coming to collect certain documents regarding the complaints. “After failing to collect several crucial documents, the ACB has now summoned secretary member of the DCW to appear before it Friday,” said officials.
Refuting the allegations of misusing her office, corruption and illegal appointment of new staff members in the DCW, Maliwal said, “Earlier, 42 people worked in the DCW, now 80 do. These include three acid attack victims and two girls who were orphans from Nari Niketan. The DCW has appointed many such victims in posts in the DCW. All procedures have been followed. The rules are the same that Singh applied when she was DCW chief. We have appointed more people because our work has increased. You can imagine that if she worked only on one case in nine years, what kind of pendency the DCW may be facing.”
She added that the commission had forwarded a molestation complaint against Saigal to Delhi Police, following which he accused Maliwal of misusing her official position. She said an inquiry should also be instituted against Singh for working only on one case in nine years and drawing her salary from the government.
“The ACB came to our office and questioned us for four hours based on false and concocted complaints. For the first time in DCW’s history, the commission is working. We are raising the voice of rape victims and addressing the lack of special task forces and committees. But ACB questions us instead,” said Maliwal.
Singh, however, said, “… Based on an RTI reply, it is clear that no advertisements were taken out and no interviews were conducted by the DCW to employ consultants and other legal counsellors and advisors. All of this was done to ensure people like Prabhsahay Kaur d/o HS Phoolka, Raj Mangal and other aides and associates of Aam Aadmi Party are given monetary benefit. I urge the ACB to complete investigation and take all action provided in law against the culprits namely Swati Maliwal, Minister for Woman & Child Development Sandeep Kumar and CM Arvind Kejriwal and book them under provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act and the IPC.”
Meanwhile, DCW staff tied rakhis on the wrists of police inspectors from the ACB who were at the commission for a search.