At a time when Congress is jostling with numerous scams, the CWG scam once again has surfaced to rock the government. Amid the furore created by the opposition, demanding CM’s resignation, Sandeep Dikshit, a Lok Sabha member and representative of East Delhi constituency discusses the looming issue with Zeenews.com’s Swati Chaturvedi.
Swati: When George Fernandes was indicted in the coffin scam, Sonia Gandhi and even Sheila Dikshit demanded resignation from him. Don’t you think Sheila Dikshit must also resign after being accused in all these scams?
Sandeep: Both reports are entirely different. In the coffin scam, you’ll see that the words used by CAG were totally different from their usual observations. And if you take up these recent reports, there has been CM’s reference only in two situations.
In the first one, a company that was rejected by PWD approached CM, she forwarded their letter that was once again considered and rejected. So the company sent their application again to the court for re-consideration. Now, here the reference of CM is regarding her involvement over the entire situation.
The second one as you see is regarding choosing of spotlights that was okayed after a thorough presentation not only in front of CM, but the entire team that accompanied her. A committee was formed under CTG, which saw an engineer’s report saying that CM proposed a policy for street lighting. You must know that as per the same CAG’s report, the policy was considered as an astonishing and excellent venture. The whole decision for choosing those lights was made observing the valued inputs from engineers regarding, which lights must be bought and from where. All this was readily considered by PWD, who then urged to collaborate with the manufacturers instead. Here too, CM has not been indicted of her direct involvement but the question is on her role in both the situations.
Swati: Sheila Dikshit has been CM for three terms and is a recognizable face globally. The allegations are that all the projects were kept waiting for last moment, which further accelerated the cost up to 900%. Why such misuse of public and nation’s fund? On moral grounds, don’t you agree that Sheila Dikshit must resign?
Sandeep: No. CM has never been indicted for her involvement in projects. You should only talk about projects that were under her power like Thyagraj Stadium, Streetscaping, lights and infrastructure related projects. Why are you dragging her for things that she wasn’t even involved in?
Swati: Won’t you agree that Sheila Dikshit has always been loved and respected. Even during the opening ceremony of CWG, where Suresh Kalmadi was booed, she was widely cheered by the audience. Don’t you think after being accused of such allegations she must resign?
Sandeep: Do you have any report where CAG has indicted CM for the delay of projects in Delhi. CAG has never mentioned CM anywhere alleging her for the delay in Delhi projects.
Swati: Do you agree that Common Wealth Games went fine, then why such scams?
Sandeep: Whenever a strategy is prepared, it is followed by tendering and then work is commenced on a level to check whether the engineering work went on with ease or not. If the selected representatives are found liable for any mishap, then it is the responsibility of CAG to inform government about it. You should ask questions to them directly. There have been numerous reports against the government of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh; it doesn’t mean that their ministers and CMs are directly involved. How can you accuse someone for something in which they are not even involved? Then why are you indicting Sheila Dikshit for projects that she wasn’t even involved in. You would agree with me that Shunglu Committee spent enormous time on these scams and reports. After their thorough observations they submitted a report in which about 90% of delays were either because of DUAC, the urban development authority or those who were not directly under the Delhi government.
Swati: All these scams were because of deliberate negligence, you agree? The most common faces of that time were of Sheila Dikshit, MS Gill and Suresh Kalmadi. At present, Suresh Kalmadi is in Tihar Jail, MS Gill is out of cabinet, don’t you think Sheila Dikshit should now resign? Leave out what the opposition says or wants but think about the trouble caused to Delhiites.
Sandeep: Let the truth be out. One thing towards which I would like your attention is the media report according to which there are 8 places, where the names have occurred. Firstly, the report is all false and there is no mention of the contracts passed for potted plants. Instead, in the same report for the potted plants, it is mentioned that government has spent more than what was sanctioned by Sheila Dikshit. Government spent around 10.3 crore out of the 28 crore that were sanctioned. Even in those 10.3 crore, 1.75 crore were spent on private companies while majority was spent on FRI Dehradun and Vishakhapatnam Development Authority. If you’ll see the main report, you will easily mark out the differences from the lead report. The lead report was indeed a mischievous thing done on someone else’s part. In several press conferences, Deputy CAG has been constantly asked by reporters about whether CM favoured a company and all, to which their reply was: “We do not implicate CM, we never indicted her”. If there is no indictment, no culpability and no involvement, then where is the question for morality?
As far as infrastructure is concerned, during those fifteen days of games, did you ever hear anything regarding breakage of tiles, buses going broke, water scarcity and even anything like athletes being taken to wrong venues as compared to the earlier reports of that mentioned such things before the commencement of games.
Swati: The basic question here is about why Rs 5,000 were paid for a thing that merely costs Rs 5?
Sandeep: No I do not agree to this. When the planning was done in 2003-04, things were different back then compared to what they are now. There have been numerous other projects that were not slated under CWG but still they were done. Why? Why don’t you see other developments that you have got?
Swati: There are about seven MPs of Congress in Delhi. The government is of Congress. Even the PM is of your party. Despite Congress being in state and centre, why is there such a chaos?
Sandeep: All that was under sub-development. The agencies that showed negligence on their part would be definitely condemned though in a manner. There has been no allegation on CM for her direct involvement in projects that were under her. References and allegation are both two different things don’t get confused.
Swati: Why playing with institutions?
Sandeep: No, I totally disagree that has never been done. CAG works it to audit but they cannot audit policy or performance. So sticking to the facts is what I would recommend to the media.
Adapted by: Shruti Srivastava