‘MCD scam’ bigger than CWG one, says Kejriwal in Assembly

The BJP – which rules all three municipal corporations – dismissed the allegations as “baseless”.
Chief minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal addressing a special session of the Delhi Vidhan Sabha on the new farm laws, in New Delhi on Thursday.(HT Photo)
Chief minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal addressing a special session of the Delhi Vidhan Sabha on the new farm laws, in New Delhi on Thursday.(HT Photo)
Updated on Dec 19, 2020 07:18 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByAbhishek Dey, New Delhi

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday trained guns at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), alleging a Rs 2,500 crore scam in the municipal corporations in Delhi (MCD), dubbing it “bigger than the CWG scam”. The Delhi Assembly, too, passed a resolution demanding a CBI probe in the matter.

The BJP – which rules all three municipal corporations – dismissed the allegations as “baseless”. Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Ramvir Singh Bidhuri said that he shall resign if Kejriwal and other Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders can prove their claims. He demanded an apology from the AAP, if they failed to do so.

“The BJP’s Rs 2,500 crore scam in MCD is the biggest so far in Delhi – bigger than the Commonwealth Games scam during Congress’ time. With the money, one could have built hospitals with 7,500 beds or 12,500 Mohalla clinics… This was the money that was to be utilised for paying salaries and arrears of sanitation workers. Had this money not been lost in the scam, the sanitation workers, healthcare workers and other municipal employees, who risked their lives in Covid-19 management, would have received their salaries in time,” said Kejriwal in the Assembly on Friday – the second day of a special session.

Delhi Congress chief Anil Chaudhary said: “Arvind Kejriwal is trying to divert attention from the inefficiencies and failures of the Aam Aadmi Party government by dragging issues such as Commonwealth Games which have already been probed by several agencies.”

The first day — Thursday — had witnessed heated debates and discussions on the ongoing farmer’s protests against three contentious farm laws passed by the Parliament in September.

On Friday, the discussions continued to be focussed on allegations of misappropriation of funds to the tune of around Rs 2,400 crore – related to proposed waivers on payments concerning rent for office space between the south Delhi and north Delhi civic bodies, which operate from the same building in central Delhi. It comes at a time when mayors of the three MCDs are protesting outside Kejriwal’s residence demanding Rs 13,000 crore which, they claim, the Delhi government owes to the MCDs. The Delhi government has dismissed the claims.

The House also witnessed some drama on Friday, with some AAP leaders displaying a huge poster alleging scam in the MCD inside the premises of the Assembly.

Kejriwal on Friday said in the Assembly, “The Delhi government is saving every single penny in all its projects. It has recently constructed a flyover worth Rs 325 crore in Rs 200 crore. With all the savings, it is providing facilities to the people of Delhi — such as free electricity, water, quality education, health care, and free bus rides for women. The BJP-led MCD, on the other hand, ended up spending Rs 730 crore on a flyover which was supposed to cost Rs 187 crore.

Kejriwal was referring to the Rani Jhansi flyover which was conceptualised in 1998 and completed in 2018 by the north Delhi municipal corporation.

“When AAP leaders like Raghav Chadha and Atishi went to meet Union home minister Amit Shah and lieutenant governor and demand a CBI probe into the matter, they were detained by the police… The Central government, on the other hand, was quick enough to order CBI raids in my office, (health and home minister) Satyendar Jain’s office,” said Kejriwal, who is also the national convener of the AAP.

He further said, “Now the MCDs are claiming that we owe them Rs 13,000 crores. The claim has been dismissed even by the high court and Supreme Court. It seems like they are done spending Rs 2,500 crore and they only want more… It has become a widely-accepted system in the BJP that the councillors will get five years to do corruption, taking turns… BJP’s 15-year black era in MCD is soon going to end, I sincerely hope that two crore people of Delhi will end this black era in the upcoming (municipal) elections (in 2022).”

The motion demanding CBI probe was led by the AAP’s Greater Kailash MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj. While all AAP MLAs in the 70 member House voted in favour, eight BJP MLAs refrained from casting votes. Bhardwaj later said that it “exposes the BJP’s hypocrisy” – responding to which BJP’s Bidhuri said that such a demand did not require any approval of the House in the first place. In the Assembly, Bidhuri and BJP MLA from Rohini, Vijender Gupta, said that they are open to probe by any agency.

BJP MLA Bidhuri said in a statement: “Commissioner of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation constituted a committee of six officers in October and sought a report. This committee submitted its report in December and said that the allegations of any scandal are absolutely untrue… Also, when there has been no transaction, where does the AAP see any room for a scam? The allegations regarding the Rs 2,500 crore so-called scam are completely baseless. I challenge Kejriwal and leaders of the AAP to prove the allegations. If they succeed, I will resign, if this allegation proves to be false, then apology must come from the people who are making these unwarranted allegations.”

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Wednesday, December 08, 2021