Delhi water minister Kapil Mishra on Friday said a ‘lobby’ in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was trying to shield former chief minister Sheila Dikshit in the alleged ‘water tanker scam’.
Mishra dared Leader of Opposition and BJP leader Vijender Gupta to present proof of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s alleged role in the scam.
BJP general secretary RP Singh, meanwhile, has written to the CBI, asking it to take cognisance of the scam and initiate a probe. Gupta had earlier this week approached the L-G with a memorandum to probe Kejriwal’s role.
“We had filed three FIRs in cases of corruption against Dikshit during AAP’s 49-day government earlier but no action was taken. This is the fourth case of corruption we have pointed out. Yet, no one is saying anything against her. I have given a 125-page document to the anti-corruption branch against her, along with proof. But the BJP is not saying Dikshit should be arrested. Within the BJP, there is a lobby that wants to save her,” Mishra said.
Vijender Gupta, on the other hand, said the anti-corruption branch (ACB) should examine Kejriwal’s role ‘in-depth’.
“If Sheila Dikshit is responsible for starting the scam, Arvind Kejriwal, water minister Kapil Mishra and their team are equally guilty of giving it lease of fresh life by ignoring the wrongdoings and letting the tanker scheme continue. Kejriwal suppressed the report for 10 months. He took no action despite strong appeals by his own water minister,” said Gupta.
Mukesh Kumar Meena, the ACB chief , said the agency had received two complaints, one each from the government and the leader of opposition. “We are investigating the complaints. Whosoever is required will be called for questioning and action will be taken as per law,” said Meena.
The BJP demanded cancellation of the tenders, a demand Mishra shot down as not feasible.
“The contract with the company was signed in 2012 for seven years. The purchasing amount has already been paid to the company. Cancelling the contract will be like dismantling a constructed flyover, wherein there is some corruption. Why should water distribution be stopped? The money should be recovered from Dikshit,” he said.
Mishra wondered under what section would the ACB probe him or the CM for delay in forwarding the report.
“I don’t know what section they can impose. We forwarded the report in a years’ time. BJP says that a huge delay. By that logic, the whole of Modi’s cabinet and him would be put in jail for neither probing nor providing reports on a number of cases in the past two years,” he said.
What is the water tanker scam
June 2015 - Delhi Jal Board set up an enquiry committee to probe the scam
The complainant, Citizen’s Front for Water Democracy, alleged:
1.Job of buying water tankers (385) and installing GPS monitoring systems was presented as a highly specialized job and a contractor was hired for it on nomination basis.
2.Tenders for hiring were invited five times between March 2010 and December 2011. Amount to be paid to the bidder by DJB was escalated massively in this process causing massive losses to the exchequer.
3.DJB committees, consultant and political bosses played to the tunes of an external consultant instead of using their mind, thus approving abnormally high rate for each vehicle mounted tanker hired despite great variation in rates quoted.
4.Operating tankers at lower rates was possible
5.Scam runs into Rs400 crore
CFWD had demanded registration of FIR and cancellation of award of work
August, 2015 – DJB asks Chief Minister to lodge FIR against Dikshit and others connection with the alleged scam