New Delhi, Nov 16 (IANS) Vigilance Minister Atishi on Thursday wrote to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Directors prompting a thorough investigation in connection with the Dwarka E-way land acquisition case involving Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar and other top officials.
A Delhi Government source said that on Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s directions, Atishi wrote a letter to the Directors of the ED and CBI recommending an investigation into the alleged involvement of Chief Secretary, DM South West Delhi Hemant Kumar, and Division Commissioner Ashwani Kumar in the Dwarka E-way land compensation award.
The source said that the Vigilance Minister mentioned that after the preliminary investigation by the Department of Vigilance, it appeared that in view of the scale of the corruption and prima facie establishment of the abuse of authority by the high-ranking officials, this case should come under the purview of CBI’s Prevention of Corruption Act 1988.
The source said that as 93 per cent of payment of the land purchased by the beneficiaries, may have been done in cash, which might involve money laundering as well, making it a case fit for investigation by the ED.
Atishi, the source said, mentioned that after her preliminary investigation on the Chief Minister’s directions, it was found that since the land was purchased by the beneficiaries at only seven per cent of the circle rate in 2015, there is a likelihood that the remaining 93 per cent payment may have been done in cash.
“It appears that the exorbitant award of land compensation is not only a case of corruption but might also involve money laundering as well, making it a case fit for investigation by the ED,” the source said.
The source said that the Vigilance Minister mentioned, “The Chief Minister has directed me to send a copy of the aforesaid preliminary report to you with a request that the case be registered by the ED under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 against those involved in the alleged illegal transactions.”
Atishi stated, “I have examined the allegations based on the certified copies of the relevant files provided by the Special Secretary (Vigilance). No files whatsoever have been received from the office of the Principal Secretary (Revenue)-cum-Divisional Commissioner despite asking for the same.
“Besides, I have also referred to publicly-available documents related to land records, reports, and records available on the website of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India. I submitted the preliminary report to the Chief Minister of Delhi on 14.11.2023.”
The Vigilance Minister further added, “I have also forwarded a copy of the preliminary report to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for registering a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 and such other provisions of law as may be applicable in this case against Naresh Kumar (Chief Secretary, Delhi), and Ashwini Kumar (Divisional Commissioner, Delhi), in addition to DM South West Hemant Kumar.”
The source said that in her letter to the CBI Director Atishi mentioned that in view of the scale of the alleged corruption and prima facie establishment of the abuse of authority by the high-ranking officials of the Government of NCT of Delhi, the Chief Minister has directed me to send a copy of the aforesaid preliminary report to you with a request that the case be registered by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 and such other provisions of law applicable in this case against those involved in the alleged corruption and abuse of authority.”
She added, “I understand that the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi has already referred certain aspects related to this case to the CBI, particularly, the action of the then District Magistrate, South West Delhi in enhancing the land compensation exorbitantly. However, as you will find in this preliminary report, the then DM may just have executed the unlawful directions of his superiors. Therefore, in addition to the then DM, the role of Naresh Kumar, Chief Secretary and Ashwani Kumar, Principal Revenue Secretary-cum-Divisional Commissioner, too, should be investigated.”
Earlier in this case the Vigilance Minister handed over her 670-page preliminary report to the Chief Minister concerning the alleged involvement of the Chief Secretary and other aforementioned officers. On Thursday morning the Chief Minister referred the case to the CBI and the ED.
Kejriwal had received a complaint regarding this in which the complainant alleged that three Government officials namely Hemant Kumar (DM, Southwest Delhi), Naresh Kumar (Chief Secretary, Delhi), and Ashwini Kumar (Divisional Commissioner, Delhi), in connivance with beneficiary landowners, had entered into certain unscrupulous transactions which caused huge monetary loss to the National Highways Authority of India.
The complainant further alleged that there is a close connection between the Chief Secretary of Delhi and the landowners whose compensation was significantly enhanced by the then DM. It was alleged that the son of the Chief Secretary is a key business partner of a close relative of wrongfully benefitted landowners. – IANS