Trouble keeps mounting for Kejriwal led AAP in the run-up to the Delhi Assembly Elections, as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested another person, Dhiraj Gupta, in connection with the arrest of Gopal Krishna Madhav, a Delhi government officer and Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to the Delhi Deputy Chief Minister, Manish Sisodia in a bribery case.
This is that much more shocking for the AAP as it comes only a day after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) revealed that the anti-CAA protests including the Shaheen Bagh protests are being funded by the Popular Front of India (PFI) and AAP and Congress leaders were in touch with the PFI chief.
Dhiraj, who is said to have been involved in the case as a middleman has now been sent to judicial custody. Sources say that the accused officers were demanding a bribe of Rs. 2.26 lakh.
It was Dhiraj Gupta’s arrest on February 5, which also led to the arrest of the GST officer and OSD to the Delhi Deputy CM, Manish Sisodia. Gupta was acting as a middleman for Gopal Madhav, the OSD in question.
In fact, Dhiraj Gupta was acting as a middleman on behalf of GST officers for taking illegal gratification from transporters in lieu of not charging Goods and Services (GST).
Facing fire, Sisodia, who is the number 2 in Delhi government next only to the AAP supremo, Arvind Kejriwal has admitted Gopal Krishna Madhav’s arrest. At the same time, he also tried taking high moral ground in order to avoid outrage.
He has tweeted, “I have come to know that the CBI has arrested a GST inspector taking bribe. This officer was also posted in my office as an OSD. The CBI should ensure that he is punished severely and expeditiously. I myself have got many such corrupt officials caught in the last 5 years.”
मुझे पता चला है कि सीबीआई ने एक GST इन्स्पेक्टर को रिश्वत लेते हुए गिरफ़्तार किया है. यह अधिकारी मेरे ऑफ़िस में बतौर OSD भी तैनात था. सीबीआई को उसे तुरंत सख़्त से सख़्त सजा दिलानी चाहिए. ऐसे कई भ्रष्टाचारी अधिकारी मैंने ख़ुद पिछले 5 साल में पकड़वाए है.
— Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) February 7, 2020
He had also said, “I got to know that an officer who is posted at GST & has been an Officer on Special Duty (OSD) with me for 5 years has been arrested for taking a bribe of Rs 2 lakhs. What CBI did is right, strictest action should be taken to set an example.”
Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia: I got to know that an officer who is posted at GST & has been an Officer on Special Duty (OSD) with me for 5 years has been arrested for taking a bribe of Rs 2 lakhs. What CBI did is right, strictest action should be taken to set an example. pic.twitter.com/SmJ1fz9CRz
— ANI (@ANI) February 7, 2020
By being critical of the tainted Delhi government official who was an OSD of the Deputy Chief Minister since 2015, Sisodia is trying to avoid outrage in the run-up to the Delhi Assembly polls.
Sisodia and AAP do not want to be accountable and a party which had once promised zero tolerance to corruption, today seems to be indifferent towards such serious corruption allegations about an official who was serving as the Official on Special Duty to the Delhi Deputy Chief Minister.
Meanwhile, the BJP has also hit out at the Kejriwal led party over this development. In-charge of BJP’s National Information & Technology, Amit Malviya has tweeted, “No OSD in a Deputy CM’s office can accept bribes without the knowledge of his political boss…There have been several allegations of corruption on Kejriwal and Sisodia in the past too…” He added, “The party born out of the movement against corruption will end with corruption.”
No OSD in a Deputy CM’s office can accept bribes without the knowledge of his political boss…
There have been several allegations of corruption on Kejriwal and Sisodia in the past too…
भ्रष्टाचार के ख़िलाफ़ किये गए आंदोलन से जन्मी पार्टी, भ्रष्टाचार पर ख़त्म होगी।
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) February 7, 2020
This incident is a severe dent in the supposedly clean image that the AAP has very carefully crafted over the years. The defence that Sisodia has taken is rather fickle, given that the same Kejriwal led AAP used to practise scoot and shoot brand of politics making unsubstantiated graft allegations against his opponents at the drop of a hat.
Kejriwal and AAP had promised a clean governance model, but this incident has clearly proved that the AAP government has failed to deliver.
In fact, as per a PGurus report, the AAP has faced corruption allegations in connection with the Odd-Even scheme too. In 2016, AAP had also drawn fire over allegations of a Rs. 400 crore water tanker scam. Therefore, the Kejriwal led party no longer enjoys the luxury of being able to claim that it is a party with a difference.
To make things worse, Delhi Deputy CM, Sisodia has come under trouble with his OSD’s arrest over corruption allegations. Such officers are not ordinary officers and are generally considered to be more proximate with the Minister in whose office they are appointed. Moreover, he has been arrested in connection with the discharge of his official duties as a GST officer. A day to go into polls, AAP and Sisodia have a lot to answer.