In a stern warning to top engineers of the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) on Wednesday, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal warned there would be ‘zero tolerance for corruption’.
Many senior DJB engineers had met Kejriwal, who is also the ex-officio chairperson of the water utility, requesting ‘sympathetic dealing’ in cases involving 14 engineers whose names figured in FIRs registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The DJB suspended these engineers on January 18 after they were named in five cases registered by the CBI in an equipment purchase scam.
DJB chief executive officer Vijay Kumar had fixed a meeting of about 50-odd engineers, including executive engineers, superintending engineers, chief engineers, members (water supply) and members (sewage), with Kejriwal at the Delhi Secretariat.
“Our only request to the chief minister was that he dealt with our case sympathetically. We wish that people of Delhi should not suffer as suspension of as many as 14 engineers can hamper our work ahead of summer. After all, just because their names figure in FIRs cannot be a reason for suspension,” said an engineer, who attended the meeting.
“The chief minister, however, did not have any ‘sympathy’ for us,” he added.
Kejriwal, in fact, warned them point blank there would be zero tolerance for corruption. He told the engineers that neither corruption nor any kind of negligence of work would be tolerated, sources said.
The CBI registered five FIRs against 14 DJB engineers, including eight executive engineers, and a proprietor of a Delhi-based equipment supplier for a scam worth `6 crore.
Incidentally, the DJB CEO had reportedly cited lack of manpower, in turn, costing efficiency, resulting in suspension of these engineers three days after the FIRs were registered, sources added.
Cracking down on corruption in the DJB, the Delhi government had earlier suspended three officials of the water distribution utility and shifted around 800 others in a bid to streamline its service delivery mechanism.
Chief water analyst Vinod Kumar, patwari Sunil Kumar and meter reader Atul Prakash were suspended following orders by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, education and PWD minister Manish Sisodia said after a sting operation by a TV channel showed the trio seeking money to clear use of water for building construction and meter reading.