Home In the Spotlight PWD scam: Arvind Kejriwal’s role should be looked into

PWD scam: Arvind Kejriwal’s role should be looked into

File image of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. PTI

The Delhi Anti-Corruption Branch on Thursday arrested Vinay Bansal, a close relative of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, in connection to an alleged case of corruption in the Public Works Department of the Union Territory. The arrest was made post enquiry after whistleblower Rahul Sharma filed an FIR nearly one-and-half years ago. The case almost forgotten as one of the accused Surender Bansal, who was Kejriwal’s brother-in-law died of heart attack soon after allegations surfaced against him. Vinay is Surender’s son who was a dormant partner in the company Renu Construction Company Limited involved in the alleged scam.

Soon after Vinay’s arrest AAP hurriedly called a press conference claiming that the case was politically motivated and the agency was used to malign the name of Kejriwal.

A Delhi government release said, “Vinay’s father Late Surendra Bansal ran a company which worked with PWD since several years. The company of Mr. Bansal was awarded a work of constructing a drain by the PWD. The drain was constructed by the company. Third party certification of the construction was done by IIT Roorkee. PWD also handed over completion certificate to the company. Later in 2017, an FIR was registered under political duress against the company charging it with not having executed the work of constructing a drain properly.”

The government alleged that having failed to find anything against Kejriwal, his MLAs and his ministers, the Narendra Modi government stooped low to target the chief minister’s relatives. Modi Government has got Arvind Kejriwal investigated by all agencies.

The release further said that after the FIR, the ACB got the work checked through Sriram Labs, which gave a clean chit to the work. PWD’s stand was also consistent that the work was completed. This all happened in 2017. In the same year, Surendra Bansal passed away and since then there was litte movement in the case.

Firstpost interviewed the whistleblower in the case Rahul Sharma who rebutted the claims made by AAP. Edited excerpts:

The arrest of Vinay Bansal shows that the enquiry of the case you filed one-and-half years ago has finally taken off.

I am glad that the Anti-Corruption Branch is making the effort to tighten the noose around the corrupt. It proves that the information we collected about the corruption travelling across various parts of the city and by filing RTI applications along with the charges we levelled were prima facie correct. But at the same time we are concerned about the fact that the Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal who is also one of the accused of the case has not been enquired into yet. His name featured in the FIR we filed. We expect pro-activeness on the part of the government in enquiring the case. Had not we been persistent in our effort after filing the case would not have reached even this stage.

 

It has been alleged that you filed the case under political duress.

Whenever AAP finds itself exposed, it conjures a conspiracy theory from nowhere. How can there be any political pressure on me when I myself am not a political person nor the Roads Anti-Corruption Organisation, my NGO or any of its members are political persons. How can  party put pressure on a group of persons who do not have any political affiliations. It is obvious that since the party has nothing to say in its defence is now resorting to blame game. Can they claim that no fake bill was passed in the concerned scam? Can they claim that the sales tax department report which confirms that the bills pertaining to purchase of materials were fabricated was false?

 

As per the government version a third party enquiry into the work has given clean chit to PWD department.

My case was about nothing but fake bills. Where was the work done? From where were the materials procured for the work? Can the government answer to this questions? If the enquiries mentioned by the government was  enough there would have been no need for another enquiry. But recently the court had ordered Central Public Works Department to submit an enquiry report on the case. The CPWD has already filed it’s report. The report is with Anti-Corruption Branch.

Which evidence that you have submitted along with your FIR do you think may nail the chief minister in the case?

What we are demanding is that the role of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal should been enquired into. Until and unless the officers of the department are not interrogated the truth behind the scam will never be revealed. The said work was allotted 46 percent below the estimated rate. How and where a company can get building materials 46 percent below the market rate?

Even the L-G recently had forwarded a complaint to enquire the role of Kejriwal in the case. Nothing has moved by the vigilance department on the case so far. To move the case to its logical conclusion officials who have passed the bills and those who have supervised the case should be investigated and arrested whenever required. Otherwise we fear that crucial evidence may be tampered with.

You filed the case a year and a half ago but it took the investigating agency such a long period to make the first arrest. Do you see any foul play here?

Absolutely no foul play is here. For this is a case of highly technical nature. It would be wrong on anyone’s part to compare the speed of enquiry to that of other crimes which are not technical in nature.