The questionable veneer of anti-corruption credentials that Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi government had flouted seems to be coming off at the seams. It seems now that even Bhagwaan won’t be able to keep Arvind Salamat anymore. After a series of clashes with the then LG, Najeeb Jung which culminated in a Delhi HC decision that LG is the administrative head of the Union Territory of Delhi, the then LG had set up a committee to examine the workings of the Delhi government. Headed by former Comptroller and Auditor General V K Shunglu, former Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami and former Chief Vigilance Commissioner Pradeep Kumar, the report has come out with damning evidence against Arvind Kejriwal led Delhi government. It appears that Delhi government has flouted processes, flirted with nepotism, indulged in corruption and swindled money meant for the public. In some ways, Arvind Kejriwal has turned out to be the exact replica of those he used to excoriate.
Satyendra Jain, the architect of ‘Mohalla Clinics’, where Doctors treat patients in 30 seconds or less, finds himself in the eye of another controversy. It turns out his Architect daughter, Saumya Jain, who had been appointed as an advisor for Mohalla Clinics as also the advisor to the health secretary-cum-mission director of the National Health Mission and had been forced to resign following opposition’s uproar has landed him in trouble again. The committee could find no evidence of the approval for her appointment. All this while she was paid a salary of 1.15Lakhs per month during her tenure as the advisor.
The committee has also lambasted Delhi government for allotting a residence to DCW chief Swati Maliwal which was against the policy. Interestingly, Swati Maliwal is the wife of AAP leader, Naveen Jaihind. Similarly, MLA Akhilesh Pal Tripathi was allotted a Type V quarter which is against the norms. Also drawing the committee’s ire is the fact that Delhi government chose to allott an official government bungalow, 206, Rouse Avenue to AAP for use as party office. And to top it all, Nikunj Agarwal, related to CM Arvind Kejriwal was appointed as an Officer on special duty to health minister, Satyendra Jain. The committee has flagged several such cases of inappropriate appointments and nepotism. In one such case, Abhinav Rai was appointed on contract basis as OSD and was paid a salary which was 4 times the appropriate salary.
Apart from such brazen displays of corruption and financial improprieties, the committee has also noted that Delhi ministers had a penchant for foreign travel especially without LG’s approval. There had also been cases of sporadic appointments without following laid down procedures. The committee observed that this became the norm after a dictat by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal asking secretaries to not send files to LG for approval. In short, the committee’s observations indicate a complete breakdown in government machinery in the national capital allowing corruption to have a free run.
It seems that while Delhi CM was busy attacking Modi and the LG, he was also turning a blind eye to the happenings inside Delhi government.
Shunglu committee report proves that Kejriwal government turned out to be exactly what critics had warned- a government led by rookies, unfamiliar with and incapable of governance.
One can only pity Delhi that had so overwhelmingly voted for a government that chose to spend crores on advertising its non-existing achievements in distant states and elect a Chief Minister who would rather campaign in Punjab and Goa than attend to Delhi’s problems.
Even earlier, charges have been made against Arvind Kejriwal and his AAP government. People have accused him of reneging on his promises, of ignoring Delhi’s needs, of being surrounded by a coterie of yesmen, but at least nobody doubted Arvind Kejriwal’s integrity and his anti-corruption credentials. With the publishing of Shunglu Committee report, it seems that Arvind Kejriwal is no different from a typical money-hungry, corrupt Indian politician. From being brandished as the face of new politics to symbolizing the worst of Indian politics, how the mighty have fallen.