Font Size



Menu Style

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn
(Edited Image Courtesy: Transparency International)
‘All parties together in corruption: Arvind Kejriwal’. So ran the headline for the PTI story datelined 17th August 2012 published in Economic Times and certain other publications.
At that time, Mr. Kejriwal had not formed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). He loved playing the role of anti-graft crusader. He is now struggling to retain this carefully-crafted image in the eyes of Aam Aadmi. 
After regaining power in Delhi in February, he, as Chief Minister, has failed to act in suspected/alleged cases of major corruption. And to deflect the public attention from his flop-show, Mr. Kejriwal is now resorting to gimmicks. A case in point is the outsourcing of manpower for Delhi Government’s Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) from Bihar Government.  
He is also dragging his feet over his hobbyhorse, Delhi Jan Lokpal Bill, which has not even been introduced in the State Assembly till today.  He has thus not kept his word to introduce the Bill in the in the first session of re-constituted assembly. 
He has also not exercised the existing option for the interregnum, i.e., facilitating appointment of Delhi Lokayukta. This post is lying vacant since October 2013, leading to massive pile-up of cases requiring investigation. It has already triggered a public interest litigation that has led Delhi High Court to admonish his Government to act fast on this subject.  
Lokpal or Lokayukta, Kejriwal is caught is a situation similar to one faced by a novice riding the tiger. The ombudsman, whatever be its legal basis, is likely to unmask him by taking up potential cases involving his party and MLAs. A notable case that no anti-corruption watchdog can over is the dubious Rs 2-crores donation that his party received from four shell companies.
Mr. Kejriwal is thus haunted with the risk of the public throwing back at him, the same charge that swept him to power - All parties (AAP included) are together in corruption.
And there is notable circumstantial evidence to drive home this imminent prospect. Before listing the evidence, hear what Mr. Kejriwal stated in that story and how it is applicable to him today.
Referring to CAG reports on coal blocks, power and Delhi airport, Mr. Kejriwal stated: “We have just one question. Prime Minister, please tell us, where should we go to register an FIR on the basis of these reports. All the agencies are under the Prime Minister’s control and that is why we demand Lokpal.”
He continued: “We say all parties are involved in this (corruption) and no one wants to pass the Lokpal Bill. All parties are involved in this loot of natural resources. The states have benefitted the private companies in their respective states.”
He added: “If Jan Lokpal was there then on the basis of this report, we would have complained and in six months, the probe would have been completed. In one year, the case would have been completed and the accused would have been sent to jail in 18 months,” he said.
What would be Kejriwal’s reply if mainstream media were to toss these very questions to him on issues that he has ducked?
Barring the FIR-filing in KG basin gas price hike in January 2014 under his first stint as Delhi CM, Mr. Kejriwal has not ordered any probe on the basis of other CAG reports and serious charges available in public domain. He has not yet produced any outcome on gas pricing which is otherwise a Central Government’s subject, except for ranting against Reliance Industries Limited (RIL). Not even ACB’s probe report which should have been completed in six months as per his own norm!
There has thus been only sound and fury in AAP’s battle against graft with focus on necessity-driven petty bribes and virtually zero-action on greed-driven big-ticket graft. 
Mr. Kejriwal is today haunted by his own silence on irregularities in areas such as commonwealth games scam including misuse of funds earmarked for Scheduled Castes. Many irregularities have been highlighted by CAG reports on Delhi including three latest ones presented in Parliament in August 2014.  Like much-maligned Dr. Manmohan Singh, Mr. Kejriwal is practicing Maun Vrat on irregularities that have the potential to blow into major corruption scandals if probed independently.
This is best illustrated by GMR-controlled Delhi International Airport Private Limited (DIAL), which operates the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA). It was privatized by the UPA with a formal support agreement with the Delhi Government. This agreement, coupled with the CAG report, offers a perfect reason for Mr. Kejriwal to order a probe as we would discuss later. 
A month before forming AAP in November 2012, Mr. Kejriwal claimed that he was gathering evidence of politician-business nexus against GMR Infrastructure, DLF and India Bull group of companies. 
As put by a story datelined 17th October 2012, “He has accused the companies of having investments by politicians and is seeking information from the public about these firms.” 
Mr. Kejriwal has maintained deafening silence on this self-authorized probe since then, even though tonnes of information are available in the public domain.  Take first the CAG report on Implementation of Public Private Partnership (at) IGIA presented in Parliament in August 2012. CAG’s findings were articulated and corroborated by Public Accounts Committee during February 2014. 
In the report, CAG concluded: “It was noted that the concept of upfront fee was used to lease out an additional land of 190.19 acres for a paltry one-time payment of Rs 6.19 crores. Other Government offices like Director General of Civil Aviation and Bureau of Aviation Security were given a much harsher treatment when 7.60 acres of land was leased out to them at a license fee of Rs 2.41 crores per annum.”
CAG explained: “Out of a total land area of 5106 acres of IGIA, AAI (Airport Authority of India) initially leased out 4608.9 acres for development of the airport. An additional 190.19 acres of land was leased to DIAL, thus bringing the total demised premises at 4799.09 acres.”
CAG’s 2nd charge: Ministry of Civil Aviation and later AERA (Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India) allowed DIAL to collect Development Fees amounting to Rs 3415.35 crores. The order of Ministry in February 2009 allowing this was in contravention of the OMDA, AAI Act and the AERA Act. Contrary to the provisions of OMDA (Operation, Management and Development Agreement), DIAL was allowed to use the amount collected as Development Fees to meet the project costs. In fact, only 19 per cent of the project cost came from equity, approximately 42 per cent came from debt. The remaining project costs were met from security deposits and Development Fees.
CAG stated: “Allowing these post contractual benefits violated the tendering process by which the JV partner was selected.”
CAG’s another charge: “Many observations in the present report would indicate that whenever DIAL raised an issue regarding revenue to accrue to it or expenditure to be debited to Government in contravention of the provisions of OMDA, the Ministry and AAI interpreted the provisions always in favour of the operators and against the interest of the Government.”
Apart from CAG report, Kejriwal Government has had another valid ground to order anti-corruption probe in privatization of Delhi airport. This by virtue of it being successor to Congress-led Government that signed an agreement dated 26th April 2006.
This agreement named ‘State Government Support Agreement (SGSA)’ between Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (GONCT) and DIAL provides for all kind of assistance that the former would be required to provide the latter in development, operation and management of the airport. 
And DIAL is exuding confidence in its empowerment to get work done from Delhi Government. In its offering memorandum dated 27th  January 2015 issued to international investors, DIAL says: “Under the terms of the SGSA, the GONCT agreed to use its best endeavors to, among others, (a) clear land required for the provision of aeronautical services at the Airport of any squatters occupying such land, (b) provide additional land necessary for the provision of aeronautical services at the Airport, (c) upgrade, modernize and maintain existing access roads to and from the Airport, namely National Highway 8, as well as make reasonable endeavors to develop additional modes of public transport to and from the Airport, (d) provide sufficient utility services to the Airport, (e) maintain cleanliness in the area surrounding the Airport and prevent any interference from animals or birds in such areas, and (f) provide us with all consents, licenses, approvals, permits and other authorizations or permissions required from GONCT under applicable law that we properly apply for in order to perform our obligations under the OMDA.”
The agreement’s clause relating to eviction of squatters conflicts with AAP’s solemn electoral promise that “slums will not be demolished under any circumstances.”
Why has Mr. Kejriwal not ordered review of all such contracts that were signed by Congress Party solely to serve the interest of the private companies?  Why has he not smelled rat in such contracts? 
Turn now to CAG report on GONCT’s revenue and social and economic sectors (PSUs) presented in Parliament in August 2014 when the State Assembly was in suspended animation. The report has listed instances of revenue leakages running into several hundred crores of rupees. The leakages/revenue loss has been caused by short levy of taxes or failure to collect taxes and due to attempts to favour private companies. 
Has Mr. Kejriwal asked ACB to probe such glaring irregularities mentioned in this CAG reports on Delhi? Information on this count is hard to come by in the public domain. 
Aam Aadmi is thus baffled by Mr. Kejriwal’s strategy to selectively target a few firms especially the ones promoted by Ambani brothers and maintain stoic silence in other instances. AAP is generous in issuing statements against Ambanis’ companies.
A case in point is the release dated 12th December 2014 targeting Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Limited (DAMEPL). It says: “The reported opinion of the government’s top law officer, Attorney General, Mr Mukul Rohatgi advising the government to pay Rs 1800 crores to a subsidiary company of Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) for terminating the contract of Delhi airport metro with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is a blatant attempt to help this company at the cost of public money and is nothing short of a multi-crores rupee scam.” 
All this muck ultimately recoils into one issue: Has Mr. Kejriwal got hooked to the great Indian politics’ rope trick – Roar like a lion against corruption on public platforms and utter Meow Meow in privacy?
You are here: Home Corruption Kejriwal amasses monumental deficit in battling corruption