Registrar office

LG office hides facts about land scam investigation: AAP

Saurabh Bharadwaj says the House panel headed by him first investigated the matter; Saxena suspends two other officials

Saurabh Bharadwaj says the House panel headed by him first investigated the matter; Saxena suspends two other officials

Even though Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena on Friday suspended two other officials for corruption, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) accused the LG of trying to “spin the narrative of a land scam in North Delhi to cast Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a bad light”.

The allegation follows the initiation of disciplinary proceedings against four Sub-Divisional Magistrates (SDMs), on the instructions of Mr Saxena, for their alleged involvement in a land scam. The officials were accused of “selling property of evacuees to private entities for pecuniary benefits” during their tenure as SDM, Alipur, between 2015 and June 2021. One of the suspended officials was appointed secretary deputy in the office of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

AAP Chief Spokesperson and Chairman of the Delhi Legislative Assembly Privileges Committee, Saurabh Bharadwaj, said the issue was first considered by the committee, but the LG tried to ” hide this fact”.

“LG’s office did not explain to the media the full reason for the suspension of the four corporate officers and officers. I had raised the issue of the land scam in the Assembly during Question Time,” Mr Bharadwaj said.

“LG mislead”

“This is not corruption on the part of the Under-Secretary in the Office of the Chief Minister, but illegal transfer of government land as SDM; LG office should avoid spreading false information. The officers there mislead the LG or he is willfully misled,” he said.

During the investigation into the alleged land scam, Mr Bharadwaj said, the committee had several times appealed to the then Divisional Commissioner, Sanjeev Khirwar, and later the current Divisional Commissioner, KR Meena. The investigation revealed that the land in question measured over 500 bighas and was valued at over ₹500 crore, which a few SDMs had, over time, “succeeded in illegally transferring” to private parties.

“The then Divisional Commissioner Sanjeev Khirwar gave vague answers and the committee was not satisfied with the department’s response,” Mr Bharadwaj said.

“He [Khirwar] was approached several times and he was trying to protect officers involved in this corruption. His answers were misleading and he received a contempt notice,” he added.

Falsified income records

Mr Bharadwaj made the allegations on a day when the LG ordered the suspension of a deputy registrar at Hauz Khas, DC Sahoo, and another government official, Ramesh Kumar, for “gross misconduct and corruption”. The two allegedly falsified income records to transfer prime land worth several crores on Josip Broz Tito Marg in Chirag Delhi to a private party, Raj Niwas said.

“The LG had received several complaints against the Deputy Clerk from MPs and cross-cutting MPs and citizens living in that area,” a source at Raj Niwas said.

“Serious accusations of corruption, including blatant solicitation of bribes for property registration, subversion of documents and arbitrariness, have come to his attention,” the source added.

Regarding the latest suspensions, Mr Bharadwaj questioned why this was ‘projected as if LG had taken action on its own’. He said the Assembly Committee also investigated the case, but important facts were “suppressed” by officials in the LG office.

BJP wants assembly session

Meanwhile, Delhi’s BJP Legislative Party has demanded a special session of Assembly regarding alleged corruption in the city’s government “immediately”.

Opposition Assembly Leader Ramvir Singh Bidhuri has accused the AAP government of fostering corruption.

“It is surprising that a minister, Satyendar Jain, has been under arrest for a month, but Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has neither removed him from office nor taken any action against him,” Mr. Bidhuri.

“There are many corruption allegations against the Kejriwal government. A big scam has come to light regarding the construction of seven temporary hospitals operating on paper only,” he said.