The CBI’s controversial raids in the Capital may have triggered an unprecedented political war of words but the man who is allegedly the target of the operation is no stranger to controversy.
Known to be close to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, senior IAS officer Rajender Kumar was one of the Aam Aadmi Party’s first bureaucratic appointments during its 49-day stint last year.
The 48-year-old was subsequently given charge of several important departments, including transport and education, before taking over as the CM’s secretary.
The 1989-batch officer was also at the centre of a pitched battle between the city government and lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung in June, after Kejriwal appointed his trusted officer as the home secretary.
The L-G had rejected the appointment, saying the decision didn’t have his approval, and put Dharam Pal in charge.
But the AAP dug in its heels and refused to budge from its pick, resulting in a peculiar situation where two home secretaries were functioning from the Delhi secretariat, but ultimately, Kumar had to go.
An IIT graduate, Kumar is known to enjoy a warm rapport with the chief minister, who passed out of IIT-Kharagpur as a mechanical engineer in 1989.
Sources said the raids were related to a complaint in June to the city’s Anti-Corruption Branch by Ashish Joshi, who was unceremoniously removed as member secretary of the AAP’s Delhi Dialogue Commission.
He had accused Kumar of setting up private firms and awarding them contracts worth more than Rs 50 crore without calling for bids. Joshi alleged that the firms were set up when Kumar was secretary (IT) and later as CMD (Transco), Secretary (Health) and commissioner (VAT)
The ACB officers then said they was conducting an inquiry into Joshi’s complaint but DCP RK Pandey had forwarded the complaint to the CBI on July 15.