Kejriwal’s other headache: The alleged Rs 400-cr water tanker scam

Kapil Mishra has been pursuing a probe into the alleged scam, which has been in the news since 2015

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Before sacked Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) minister Kapil Mishra dropped the bomb on Sunday with allegations of corruption against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, all indications had pointed towards some big revelation regarding the alleged Rs 400 crore water tanker scam — a case which saw FIRs against both Kejriwal and his predecessor Sheila Dikshit.

Till Sunday morning, Mishra had maintained that he had been axed from the Delhi Cabinet for his insistence on bringing those involved in the alleged scam to justice. While news events have overtaken the issue, Mishra’s May 6, 2017, letter to the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) indicates that he has no intention of letting go of the findings he claims to have made while probing the matter.

What is the scam all about and how did it come to light

The alleged scam came to light when Delhi’s AAP government, in June 2015, constituted a fact-finding committee to probe the irregularities in hiring some 385 stainless steel water tankers by the Delhi Jal Board in 2012, during Dikshit’s rule.

The five-member committee was formed by then Delhi Water Minister Kapil Mishra.

Its report, submitted to Kejriwal in August 2015, highlights alleged corruption of Rs 400 crore in the process of awarding tenders for hiring water tankers.

It recommended an FIR against Congress leader Dikshit by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ACB.

In mid-June 2016, almost a year later, the report was sent to the prime minister and Delhi’s lieutenant governor by the AAP government.

Subsequently, the Delhi Anti-Corruption Branch filed an FIR against both Kejriwal and his predecessor Dikshit in connection with the water tanker scam.

Kejriwal’s name got added due to a complaint by a legislator from the opposition. In June 2016, ACB chief M K Meena told IANS that Arvind Kejriwal‘s name also featured in the FIR due to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Vijender Gupta’s complaint against the former “for causing delay and not cancelling the contract for water tankers”.

What did the Delhi government do after the panel submitted its report

On June 12, 2016, then state Water Minister Mishra had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung recommending either a CBI or ACB probe against Dikshit in connection with the alleged scam.

Mishra also said that the former Delhi chief minister should be behind bars for alleged corruption and that she was not facing any action as the BJP was not keen to punish the guilty.

He also said that the state government had filed three FIRs against Dikshit for various corruption cases.

How did the ACB get involved

On June 16, 2016, Jung forwarded the report on the alleged scam to the ACB for further investigation.

However, Jung also forwarded a complaint filed with him by BJP leader Gupta accusing Kejriwal of “suppressing” the committee’s report into the tanker scam for 11 months.

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