CBI to probe CM’s residence renovation irregularities

| | New Delhi
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CBI to probe CM’s residence renovation irregularities

Thursday, 28 September 2023 | Rakesh K Singh | New Delhi

In fresh trouble to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the CBI has registered a Preliminary Enquiry to look into alleged “irregularities and misconduct” by unidentified public servants of the Delhi Government in connection with the alleged irregularities in the construction of a new official residence for him.

Amid the ongoing probe in the Delhi liquor scam in which Kejriwal’s deputy Manish Sisodia is undergoing judicial custody for a year, the PE could lead to registration of a Regular Case or FIR if the allegations are buttressed with prosecutable evidence in the matter, officials said.

The PE is the first step to ascertain if the allegations have prima facie material evidence to proceed with a regular FIR.

In its letter to the PWD on Monday, the anti-corruption branch of the CBI has demanded records related to the approval and recommendation of its officials related to alteration, tender documents and bids submitted by contractors, officials said.

The agency has sought documents related to approval of building plans and requests from the client for inclusion of superior specifications like modular kitchen, marble flooring and other ornamental work, they said.

 It also asked the PWD to deposit records related to payments made to the contractor AK Builders and consultant to the project besides several other connected documents.

In April, reports had surfaced suggesting a total of `44.78 crore against a sanctioned amount of `43.70 crore was spent on “addition/alternation” of Kejriwal’s government accommodation on 6, Flagstaff Road in Civil Lines.

The money was spent in six tranches between September 9, 2020 and June 2022, documents revealed.

According to documents, the total expenditure included `11.30 crore on interior decoration, `6.02 crore on stone and marble flooring, `1 crore on interior consultancy and ` 2.58 crore on electrical fittings and appliances.

An amount of `2.85 crore was spent on the fire fighting system, `1.41 crore on wardrobe and accessories fitting and `1.1 crore on kitchen appliances.

A separate amount of `8.11 crore of the sanctioned amount of `9.99 crore was spent on the camp office of the Chief Minister at his official residence, it showed.

The BJP and the Congress had attacked the Aam Admi Party for the alleged extravagant expenditure on the CM’s residence, citing Kejriwal’s promises to live in an ordinary house like a common man once he comes to power.

“We welcome the enquiry. As with all earlier enquiries in all other matters so far, nothing will come out in this. It is a desperate attempt of the BJP to malign AAP. The BJP has put in all its efforts to eliminate the Aam Aadmi Party,” the Aam Aadmi Party said in a statement.

AAP further said, “Today, in the entire country, only the Aam Aadmi Party is seeking votes by doing excellent work in the fields of education and healthcare. However, the BJP does not want the poor to have access to good education and better healthcare facilities. This will lead to the defeat of the BJP’s politics of religion and caste. That’s why the country’s best Education and Health Ministers, Manish Sisodia and Satyendar Jain, have been put in jail.”

Now, all investigating agencies have been deployed to encircle Kejriwal. “But the love and blessings of 2 crore people of Delhi are with Arvind Kejriwal. So far, more than 50 cases have been filed against him, and investigations have been carried out. Nothing was found in any of them. Nothing will be found in this either. No matter how many investigations the BJP conducts, Kejriwal will continue to fight for the welfare of the common people,” it added.

Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly Ramvir Bidhuri Singh said the Kejriwal government has money to splash `50 crore for renovation of his bungalow but it does not have money for the upkeep of Delhi road and provide pension grants to the DTC employees. Even the marshals under the civil defence department have been protesting for several days as the Government has not released their salary.

Kejriwal has been occupying the official residence- at 6 Flagstaff Road in the Civil Lines area after becoming Chief Minister in 2015.  It also has the Chief Minister’s camp office spread over a 5,000 square metre area, officials had said.

Earlier, a senior PWD official had said, “It was not renovated and a new structure has come up in place of the old structure. His camp office is also there. The expenditure is around `44 crore but what is to be noted is that the old structures have been replaced with new ones.”

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