CBI raids Arvind Kejriwal’s secretary: The History and where Kejriwal fails

The CBI has raided Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s Principal Secretary’s office and residence in connection with a corruption case. And this has resulted in the Delhi CM losing all balance and going berserk on social media. But he is on a very sticky wicket here.

A complaint against Rajender Kumar was filed by another Delhi Government bureaucrat Ashish Joshi. Ashish Joshi was always on the radar of the AAP Government. After the first AAP Government quit Delhi, it was Joshi who had sent an eviction notice to former Education Minister Manish Sisodia to vacate his Government bungalow. Later, Joshi stood up to an order from AAP leaders to appoint six AAP volunteers as coordinators of different task forces by flouting the rules. After this, Joshi was removed from his post of member-secretary of the Delhi Dialogue Commission (DDC) and sent back to the Central Government.

When asked about the reason behind Joshi’s sudden exit, AAP leader Ashish Khetan said, “I don’t have to tell you that”Later, Khetan, in a letter stated that Joshi was removed for running a “systematic vilification campaign” against the Delhi government. The letter also gave such flimsy grounds like “on several occasions, he (Joshi) has been found smoking cigars and chewing tobacco within office premises.”

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Soon after, Joshi complained to Delhi Govt’s ACB against another bureaucrat, Rajender Kumar accusing him of allegedly indulging in corruption. In his complaint, Joshi alleged that Kumar, as director of Education (from May, 2002 to February, 2005) and later Secretary (IT), Secretary (Health) and Commissioner (VAT), had allegedly set up various companies to award work orders of departments without tenders which caused “financial loss” to the city’s government. The complaint was purely from the time when Sheila Dikshit was the CM and had nothing to do with the AAP Government.

The only way Kejriwal gets involved in this is, at the time of the complaint, Kumar was one of the most powerful bureaucrats by virtue of being secretary to the Chief Minister. Kumar is known to be a close aide of Kejriwal. Kumar was appointed as principal secretary in 2015 and also when Kejriwal was running his 49-day Government. According to this piece, Kejriwal takes Kumar’s advice on every issue related to governance.

In July, Rajender Kumar was again in the eye of suspicion when a Delhi advocate alleged financial irregularities in the process followed to engage an external agency for setting up Delhi’s Anti Corruption helpline. The complainant said that  Kejriwal and his associate Rajendra Kumar, in order to benefit their aides, initiated and set up this helpline without opening any tender and duly bringing it in public domain. This complaint again was similar in nature to what Joshi had filed earlier.

Another complaint was lodged against Kejriwal’s blue eyed boy in September. The public prosecutor who scrutinised the CNG fitness scam chargesheet, wrote to ACB chief M K Meena alleging that he was being “pressurised” by “some officials” of the Delhi secretariat — including the principal secretary to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal – to “produce files related to the scam”. The Delhi Government dismissed this charge.

In September, ACB was mulling legal action against Kumar for not cooperating in the CNG fitness scam. Kumar had twice ignored investigators’ earlier requests to present himself for questioning. ACB wanted to question him for the above case which was registered in 2012 but he was constantly employing delaying tactics.

Earlier this month, the ACB questioned Rajender Kumar over his alleged involvement in the scam. He was questioned by Assistant Commissioner of Police Santosh Kumar in September and then again in October. He was given a questionnaire of nearly 100 questions related to the 2002 CNG fitness scam.

Further, according to an RTI reply, at least 7 total complaints were received against Rajender Kumar since 2012. The above complaints could very well be part of these seven. Out of the 7, 5 were being handled by the ACB, 1 was sent to the VAT Commissioner and only 1 was forwarded to the CBI.

Finally today the CBI managed to raid his office and home as well. If indeed this was a raid on the CM’s office as Kejriwal claims, there would be no point in ACB raiding Kumar’s house. The details are sketchy but reports suggest Rs 3 lakh in foreign currency and Rs 2.4 lakh cash was obtained from Kumar’s house.

Kejriwal though chose to play victim on Twitter. He claimed that CBI had raided his office because Modi couldn’t handle him politically. He also chose to abuse the Prime Minister:

He also asked why he wasnt informed about this raid in advance, and he would have certainly taken action:

Kejriwal’s claims fall flat here on multiple counts:

A. That there were at least 7 complaints pending against Kumar was known, then why did Kejriwal not act against him then? Why does he need a letter from CBI?

B. Would Kejriwal trust any other politician if he had said he would punish his aide?

C. How does Kejriwal expect CBI to inform him advance of a raid against his own aide? In 2012, Kejriwal himself raised this very issue against CBI for announcing their raids in advance:

Further, Kejriwal raised the pitch to hilarious levels by calling this an “undeclared emergency” only because “his office” was raided. Is this abusive behaviour and playing victim all because he feels a state CM should not be raided by CBI? Then what do we say about the an incident which happened just a few months back, when neighbouring state Himachal Pradesh saw its CM being raided by CBI too. And this time it was actually the CM being raided and not his officer. Yet, there was no hysteria then and CM Virbhdra Singh calmly said he had nothing to hide.

How the story develops and what comes out of this raid is yet to be seen but Kejriwal has lost ground on multiple counts: For protecting a corruption accused bureaucrat, for abusing a PM and for double-standards when it comes to anti-corruption raids.

Editorial team of OpIndia.com

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