The AAP government on Tuesday announced an inquiry commission to probe an alleged scam involving CNG fitness certificates to vehicles, where several key officials from the previous Sheila Dikshit government were under the scanner.
The decision to constitute a probe panel to be headed by a retired Delhi high court judge was taken at a meeting chaired by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. The move has the potential to intensify the government’s power tussle with lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung, whom it had accused of trying to “hush up the scam”.
Government sources said the commission would have the power to question Dikshit and Jung.
The controversy began in 2012 when the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) found the Delhi government had lost nearly Rs 100 crore in 2002 by awarding the contract to operate and maintain certification of CNG vehicles at the transport authority in Burari to ESP India Pvt Ltd instead of ESP USA. The case is already being probed by the ACB.
Sources in the AAP government said a separate probe launched by the CBI was stalled as the agency was denied permission to question certain officials.
On Tuesday, home minister Satyendar Jain said the L-G’s approval was not necessary to appoint the commission of inquiry. “We were told that several investigations were carried out in the case and prosecution sanction was not allowed... The government has the power to set up such a commission of inquiry and there is no need to seek the L-G’s nod in this regard,” he said.
Asked if former chief minister Sheila Dikshit or L-G Jung would be questioned in connection with the case, Jain said it was for the commission to decide.
Government sources, however, said the panel would have the power to question Dikshit and Jung.
The minister further said the government had received “a number of complaints” over the probe being conducted by the ACB and had thus decided to constitute a new panel.
In an official statement, the Delhi government said: “It has been brought to the notice of the government that two probe agencies — Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Anti Corruption Branch (ACB) — separately found sufficient evidence to proceed against several serving and retired officials of Delhi government.”
“It has been further brought to the notice of the government that the CBI had last year recommended to the Union home ministry and the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) to take appropriate action against the officers involved in the scam,” the statement added.
The commission of inquiry will be headed by retired high court judge SN Agarwal.