Law Minister Kapil Mishra, on Friday, wrote to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal recommending the initiation of criminal proceedings against his predecessor, the Congress’ Sheila Dikshit, for her alleged involvement in a scam related to the hiring of water tankers. The scam is alleged to be related to financial irregularities worth Rs.400 crore and an equivalent loss to the state exchequer.
A senior government official told The Hindu that the recommendation came in the wake of “several cases already registered against Ms. Dikshit” in relation to the scam at the Delhi Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB).
Mr. Mishra’s written communication addressed to the Chief Minister, which he termed as a “big exposé”, and his recommendation, he said, were based on the report of a Fact Finding Committee instituted by him in mid-June this year.
The Committee aimed at looking into the hiring of around 385 stainless steel water tankers from private companies during Ms. Dikshit’s regime in the year 2012 when she was also at the helm of the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) as its chairperson.
“This report is self explanatory and exposes how the then DJB chairman and Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and other board members consistently bypassed laws and rules to cause a loss of almost Rs.400 crore to Delhi Jal Board,” Mr. Mishra stated in his letter.
“I am forwarding this report to you with (the) request that an FIR should immediately be lodged by Delhi Govt. Based on this report against all those involved in this scam,” Mr. Mishra added.
According to a Delhi government source, Mr. Mishra’s communication, after having been vetted by Mr. Kejriwal, had been forwarded to the Directorate of Vigilance (DoV), which will now recommend the registration of a criminal case against Ms. Dikshit under the Prevention of Corruption Act over the coming days.
An ACB source said the unit was awaiting a formal communication from the DoV in relation to the scam and a preliminary enquiry was expected to be initiated “immediately”.
Mr. Mishra, who also holds the charge of Chairman, DJB, in addition to the Law and Tourism portfolios in the Delhi government Cabinet, had formed the “Fact Finding Committee on Water Tanker Distribution Management System” on June 19. According to a senior Delhi government official, the Committee submitted its findings to Mr. Mishra in his capacity as DJB Chairman earlier this week.
According to the said report, a source said, irregularities in the tendering process and other instances of having “bypassed laws and rules to cause a loss of almost Rs.400 crore to Delhi Jal Board”.
Mr. Mishra, who visited the Rajghat to offer prayers at Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial prior to writing to the Chief Minister, also expressed fears that attempts would be made to destabilise the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government and remove him from his post due to his recommendation to file an FIR against Ms. Dikshit.
“This is a big exposé and I am afraid that immediately after this, there will be attempts to destabilise our government in Delhi and also to remove me from this chair,” he said in the letter to Mr. Kejriwal.
He added that he had seen many AAP “workers losing their jobs, their livelihoods and even life” in their fight against corruption” and drew “inspiration from all of them”.
This report exposes how the then DJB chairman and Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and other board members consistently bypassed laws and rules to cause a loss of almost Rs 400 crore to Delhi Jal Board