New Delhi: Delhi BJP on Thursday alleged a Rs 1,000 crore scam in Delhi Government`s Transport department and demanded a CBI inquiry into it, claiming that investigators were not allowed to carry out a thorough probe as high- profile people including the Chief Minister were involved.
The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) of Delhi Government has been probing the alleged irregularities in award of fitness test of commercial vehicles to a private firm in 2008 without inviting any tender.
"A number of politicians including Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit are involved in the scam which runs into more than Rs 1,000 crore. The ACB is not investigating the top people involved in it," senior BJP leader Harsh Vardhan alleged at a press conference. "We demand a CBI probe," he said.
But the Delhi Government swiftly rejected the allegations as "baseless".
The case was registered in the scam on a complaint of RTI activist Vivek Garg alleging the contract for lane test of commercial vehicles for fitness certificates was given by the Delhi government to ESP India flouting the norms.
Senior Minister Harun Yusuf, who was transport minister when the process for award contract was started, termed the allegations as "totally baseless" and "politically motivated". "The allegations are totally baseless."
The ACB had told the court that it was probing the role of government officials in alleged corruption in the case. The investigators has already issued notice to former Transport Commissioner R K Verma to join investigation into the alleged irregularities.
Meanwhile, Anil Chikkara, a Licencing Officer with Delhi`s Transport Department who is a witness in the scam, claimed that there was a threat to his life as he was determined to "expose those involved in the scam".
In its report to court last year, the ACB had said that contract for crucial fitness test of commercial vehicles was awarded to the firm without any tender with approval of Delhi Cabinet but "no irregularities" could be found on part of the Chief Minister.
The ACB had also found that rules were violated to give "undue favour" to ESP India in award of contract.
The investigators had arrested Nitin Mahawat, director of ESP India, and Puran Chand Tamta, CEO of Tambros India Ltd, an alliance partner of ESP India on February 26 for allegedly siphoning off crores of rupees in fitness tests of commercial vehicles in connivance with the transport department.
A former Deputy Commissioner of Transport Department was also arrested.
"The probe being conducted by the ACB does not inspire confidence. Therefore, in the interests of transparency and justice, the Lt Governor should ask the CBI to take over the case," said Vardhan.
Alleging that Dikshit was involved in the scam, Vardhan
claimed that Chhikara has told a court under oath that the Chief Minister and a number of cabinet ministers as well as top bureaucrats, were aware about the corruption in award of the contract.
"Strangely, the ACB is suppressing all these facts to save the Chief Minister and other Ministers. The least it should have done is pick up the threads from the statement of Chhikara and sent notices to the concerned officials and ministers. But they have done nothing," he alleged.
"I have credible information that M A Usmani, the retired deputy commissioner of the Department of Transport, Delhi Government, had named several ministers in a statement filed before the judge in Tiz Hazari court claiming that it was under their pressure that he signed papers to facilitate the scam," Vardhan said, adding the ACB is afraid to proceed in the case.
The BJP leader said he will soon meet Lt Governor, demanding his intervention in ordering a CBI probe.
"It is my moderate estimate that not less than Rs 1,000 crore has been looted from bus owners in the name of CNG testing but the Anti Corruption Bureau, despite having the confessions of the four arrested persons, is afraid of carrying out raids for seizing the money or freezing bank accounts of suspected ministers and bureaucrats," he alleged.
Vardhan said the ACB functions under the Delhi Government and it is under pressure not to carry out an impartial inquiry.
"The Loaded Mode test was carried out only on paper. After extorting money from bus owners, they were given fake receipts. How could this happen without the top ministers and officers not knowing because it was continuing for years together," he said.