Amanatullah Khan booked for irregularities in Waqf management
The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Wednesday booked Aam Aadmi Party legislator and Delhi Waqf Board chairperson Amanatullah Khan for irregularities in Board’s recruitment and financial matters.
“We gathered sufficient evidence against Khan and registered a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act and criminal conspiracy. We are looking at more documents and getting more evidence. We will probe role of others too,” Special commissioner of police Arvind Deep, who is the chief of the anti-graft body, said.
He added that preliminary enquiry was registered after a sanction from the government to probe Khan on January 6.
Commenting on case against Khan, AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh said, “It looks like the BJP could find such irregularities only ahead of the elections in Delhi. Over the last five years, the BJP has used the police in Delhi and the ACB on several occasions to harass AAP leaders, of whom several were arrested in false cases. The BJP is after Amanatullah Khan now because they are baffled ahead of the polls and have no achievements to show.”
The Okhla legislator did not respond to requests for a comment despite repeated calls and text messages. He is seeking re-election in February 8 polls.
Last year, when the ACB had searched Khan’s office and residence, he had accused them of harassing him at the behest of the Central government.
Though the ACB comes under the state government’s vigilance department, the ACB chief reports to Delhi Lieutenant Governor. The Centre and the AAP-led Delhi government have, in the past, sparred over the control of the anti-graft unit, with the AAP alleging the ACB was being used to target its party leaders.
ACB officers said the FIR was filed on the basis of a complaint, lodged in June last year, by an Azadpur resident associated with a non-profit organisation.
Among the documentary evidence against Khan, the ACB has recovered a letter from Mohammed Abid, former CEO of the Waqf Board. In the letter dated February 27 and addressed to the other board members, the CEO has said Khan and other board members made 33 recruitments on posts which were not sanctioned. The CEO has said the posts were non-existent and that the hiring was done illegally on February 23, 2019, by forming an internal five-member panel.
THE ACB has recovered another internal note by Abid, on February 21, mentioning that as chairperson of the board Khan has approved 21 tenancies of properties to different persons, but bids were called for only 13 properties. The CEO has noted that property worth over ₹100 crore was rented out without following due process. “The files related to eight properties were not shown. There is also no rent agreement,” the CEO’s letter notes.
Another crucial internal document that the ACB has recovered is a letter by Khan, dated April 8, 2019, in which he has allegedly changed the authorised signatories for dealing with financial matters. An internal letter by deputy CEO alleged that on April 8, Khan issued list of five members who had the power to conduct financial transactions of the board. The deputy CEO has noted that though the new board did include the CEO’s name, it had a caveat that even without the CEO’s approval any of the two other members could sanction financial transactions.
The ACB has also attached a note from the additional secretary of the revenue department, sent within two months of issuance of Khan’s April letter, directing that only the CEO had the power to conduct financial transactions.
“During that time, the board had conducted a transaction of around ₹9 crore. The accused persons have been able to explain the use of ₹7 crore. We are in the process of gathering more proof,” said an ACB officer.