There are multiple complaints of corruption or misappropriation of public funds against AAP legislators in Delhi.
By Rakesh Raman
In response to a public interest litigation (PIL), the Delhi Government told the Delhi High Court today (February 24) that the process of appointing a Lokayukta is underway. Accepting the submission of the counsel for Delhi Government, a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh listed the matter for further proceedings on April 29.
Petitioner Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, a lawyer, has filed the PIL seeking a direction to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government of chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to appoint the anti-corruption authority Lokayukta within one month, as it was promised by the party in its election manifesto.
According to a report of today (February 24) in The Print news site, Delhi Government standing counsel Santosh Kumar Tripathi submitted that a meeting was convened in this matter and a name has been recommended for the appointment.
The petitioner, according to the report, has alleged that the Delhi Government is not taking steps to weed out the menace of bribery, black money, benami property, tax evasion, profiteering, and other economic as well as white-collar offences, and therefore, the court must intervene in the matter of the appointment of a Lokayukta.
Earlier, in October last year, as an anti-corruption activist, I had sent a petition to Delhi Lt. Governor (LG) Anil Baijal with the appeal to appoint Lokayukta in Delhi.
Reports suggest that Delhi’s anti-corruption agency Lokayukta position has been lying vacant since December 2020, and more than 200 corruption cases are pending at the Lokayukta office. Out of these, over 80 cases are against Delhi MLAs (Members of the Legislative Assembly).
While there are multiple complaints of corruption or misappropriation of public funds against AAP legislators in Delhi, in 2019 the party decided to defy the notice from Lokayukta which had asked AAP MLAs to reveal the details of their assets. As AAP MLAs had dismissed the notice saying that these are politically motivated cases against them, the details of their assets were never revealed publicly.
Similarly, the Shunglu Committee which was set up to investigate the corruption of the AAP government did not yield any result. A former LG of Delhi, Najeeb Jung, had set up an expert committee – called the Shunglu Committee – to examine over 400 files for financial and administrative irregularities committed by Delhi Government headed by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
While the Shunglu Committee had submitted its report in November 2016, it is stated that the report has found serious cases of fraud, misuse of authority, cheating, and misappropriation of funds in Kejriwal’s government. But the entire case was brushed under the carpet and the findings of the report were not made public.
Since corrupt politicians and bureaucrats are not being held accountable and jailed for their acts of corruption, they believe that corruption is their fundamental right. If you properly investigate the corruption of just two offices – Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and the Registrar Cooperative Societies (RCS) of Delhi Government, you will find that there is a huge crowd of officials who are brazenly corrupt. In fact, if you have to imprison just the corrupt DDA and RCS officials, their number would be so large that you will have to build a separate jail for them.
Therefore, my petition urged the Delhi LG to immediately appoint an honest and competent person to head the office of Lokayukta.
By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society. He has also launched a comprehensive research project to compile an exclusive report on corruption in India.
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