New Delhi — Today the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raided 14 premises of Delhi chief minister’s principal secretary Rajendra Kumar, one of which is a cabin adjacent to Arvind Kejriwal’s office, leading to an uproar by the Aam Aadmi Party in the city of Delhi and a consolidated opposition in Parliament. The opposition is accusing the Union government of launching an attack on federalism.
The political allegation notwithstanding, the raided bureaucrat Kumar, who is a 1989 batch IAS officer, is unable to explain his possession of three properties and cash worth Rs 2.50 lakh lying unaccounted for at his residence in New Friends Colony.
Kumar also refuses to let CBI have access to emails allegedly sent to and by money launderers. His accomplice, ICSIL general manager GK Nanda, has been caught with Rs 10.50 lakh of cash, the source of which he can’t explain. This total of Rs 13 lakh is believed to have been kept to dispense petty bribes.
Overall, Rajendra Kumar has 14 addresses across Delhi and Uttar Pradesh; many of them should actually be called hideouts, says a source in the CBI.
The 4 Delhi government officials against whom the CBI has registered cases are:
- Rajendra Kumar, Principal Secretary to Delhi CM,
- AK Duggal, former MD of public sector unit Intelligent Communication Systems India Limited (ICSIL),
- GK Nanda, former MD of ICSIL and
- RS Kaushik, MD of ICSIL.
The FIR also names two directors of a firm called Endeavour Systems Private Limited formed by Kumar.
In a statement issued by the CBI, the investigating agency has clarified, “We didn’t enter CM Arvind Kejriwal’s office or touch any of the files in his office.”
While Kejriwal has rubbished Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s clarification as a “lie”, the BJP government, if at all it is behind the raids, is not the first entity to accuse Kumar of involvement in corrupt acts.
FM lied in Parliament. My own office files are being looked into to get some evidence against me. Rajender is an excuse
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) December 15, 2015
Former member-secretary of the Delhi Dialogue Commission (DDC) Ashish Joshi had questioned Kumar’s functioning in the department of education, IT and health under the Delhi government. As director of education (May 2002 – February, 2005) and then secretary (IT), secretary (health) and commissioner (VAT), Kumar was alleged to have set up companies to award work orders of departments without tenders, causing huge losses to the city’s government. Joshi, sending these charges against Kumar to Anti-Corruption Bureau chief MK Meena, had asked for a probe into Kumar’s seemingly dubious affairs.
Kumar has also been a secretary in the urban development department of the Delhi government. He handled various departments including those of power and transport.
Kejriwal appointed Kumar as his principal secretary after the formation of the second AAP government in Delhi in February this year. Like Kejriwal, Kumar is an IITian. Kumar was also secretary to Kejriwal during the latter’s previous stint as CM, indicating the proximity of the duo.
In April, some newspapers had reported that the AAP’s Ashish Khetan had asked Joshi to quit after he refused to appoint 6 party volunteers as coordinators of different task forces set up under the DDC. Khetan had refuted the charge.
If Joshi’s allegations are to be believed, Kumar has been into these dodgy deals for the past 5 years. The IAS officer, after floating his company Endeavour Systems, linked its business with the PSU ICSIL and began making money from the connection, Joshi alleged.
The other charges against Kumar include:
- creating private computer labs Caltoonz and Edudel MIS and putting his office superintendent Ashok Kumar in charge of the first firm [Ashok Kumar resigned from the Delhi government job later in 2009];
- making Dinesh Kumar Gupta, a supplier of stationery goods to the Delhi government’s education department, and Sandeep Kumar, who is related to Ashok Kumar, partners in Endeavour Systems Pvt Ltd;
- doing business, including of licences for SAP (systems, applications, products) worth Rs 50 crore through this government-connected company, and
- floating several other companies that share a few addresses between 2009 and 2014 that are active in the fields of energy, real estate and educational coaching with Ashok Kumar as a director in all and relatives of his own in some of them [for example, Pratibha Sahay is a cousin of Nandini Sahay, who is the wife of Rajendra Kumar.
On receiving these complaints, the ACB had transferred all cases against Kumar to the CBI. Since July, the CBI had been doing the groundwork necessary before conducting raids against the accused bureaucrat.