Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s office recently got a corruption complaint against Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar, specifically regarding the sale of a 19-acre plot of land in the southwest of the city that was purchased by the National Highways Department in 2018. The complaint has been forwarded to the Vigilance Minister (Atishi).
In the complaint, Mr. Kumar is charged with faking a land acquisition agreement to give a company connected to another that hires his son ₹ 315 crore in profit. The sources claim that the complainant’s identity, a lawyer, by some accounts, been kept secret.
The chief secretary of Delhi has refuted the accusations and the knowledge of top executives in the company his son works for or that is associated with it. Additionally, Mr. Kumar has made it clear that he was the one who took action in this instance.
The complaint concerns the sale of a 19-acre parcel in the southwest of the city that the National Highways Authority of India purchased in 2018 in order to build the Dwarka Expressway. The district administration in place at the time determined the initial sale price of ₹ 41.52 crore.
The district magistrate of South West Delhi at the time, Hemant Kumar, increased this to ₹ 353.79 crore.
Later, Mr. Kumar’s order was revoked, and he was suspended.
According to a report, the complainant has contended that the Delhi Chief Secretary manipulated the NHAI’s order for one of the landowners to pay a higher price.
Subhash Chand Kathuria, the landowner who was supposed to receive the higher price, is closely connected to Aman Sarin, the promoter of the real estate company Anant Raaj Ltd.
Mr. Sarin is said to be connected to Karan, the Chief Secretary’s son. The Wire claims that Karan is a director at Big Town Properties Pvt. Ltd., a different real estate company that uses Anant Raaj Ltd.’s email and postal addresses.
The news agency PTI claims that Mr. Kumar was made aware of this issue in June. The Chief Secretary gave the Directorate of Vigilance in Delhi, which he leads, instructions to look into the matter.
Additionally, a CBI investigation and departmental action against the relevant district magistrate, Hemant Kumar, were recommended in September with the approval of Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena.
AAP leaders have weighed in on this controversy. Environment Minister Gopal Rai, Rajya Sabha MP Raghav Chadha, and Delhi Minister Saurabh Bhardwaj have all posted on X, calling it “devastating” and indicating that “serious inquiries (were raised) about Chief Secretary Mr. Naresh Kumar last year.”
This most recent accusation of corruption comes amid an ongoing battle between the AAP and the BJP for central government and the transfer of bureaucrats and employees within the city, made possible by the Delhi Services Bill.