The Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) of the Delhi government launched a fresh probe in the 2010 Commonwealth Games street-lighting project during the Sheila Dikshit regime, filing an FIR against unknown persons after receiving an order from the AAP government.
Though urban development minister Manish Sisodia said they weren’t targeting any single person, the government told the ACB that “there was clear collusion with vendors by officials and then chief minister/ministers to cause huge financial loss to the government.”
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The probe may bring bad news for former chief minister Dikshit as the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had previously pointed to her role in the awarding of the contract. This is the second time the Kejriwal government has targeted Dikshit. It had recommended to President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday to issue an “advisory” to Dikshit based on a Lokayukta order for alleged wrongdoings in granting provisional regularisation certificates to unauthorised colonies in 2008.
The government suffered a loss of Rs. 31.07 crore in the purchase of streetlights that were installed across the Capital for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, Sisodia said. The modernisation project was executed on nearly 800 km of Delhi roads at a tendered cost of Rs. 286 crore, the government stated. “We will ensure thorough investigation of all cases of corruption in CWG projects,” said law minister Somnath Bharti.
The VK Shunglu panel appointed by the Prime Minister to look into the charges had observed that then chief minister Sheila Dikshit was involved in the contract. “Unusual interest was displayed by her. Imported luminaries were approved by her and competition restricted,” the report had stated.
“We (Delhi government) had answered point-by-point to the questions raised by Shunglu committee,” Dikshit told HT.
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The government has alleged that a private firm, disqualified by the Board of Assesors, was awarded the contract after it appealed to Dikshit. The agency, SpaceAge Switch Gears Ltd., allegedly “supplied low-cost imported luminaries costing Rs. 5040 and charged Rs. 25,704 for the same, in the process earning super profit of Rs. 2.68 crore.”
“Unusual interest was displayed by the CM in this project. This is demonstrated by the fact that meetings were held at her residence, imported luminaries were approved by her and competition was restricted to only three parties at her instructions,” the government stated.
(with PTI inputs)