LG allows case to be filed against Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia.
NEW DELHI: On 12 January, the Director of the Central Bureau of Intelligence (CBI) Subodh Kumar Jaiswal, sent a letter, along with an annexure cum report to the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, Vinai Kumar Saxena.
The said correspondence had shocking details alleging how the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government was operating an alleged intelligence gathering unit named as “Feed Back Unit” or FBU since February 2016.The said unit, which came into being after a Delhi Cabinet decision no 2217 that was taken on 29 September 2015 was made part of the Directorate of Vigilance, Government of Delhi.
The said letter was sent to the LG, seeking his permission to register a case against Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia and others who, as per the CBI, played an important role in running this unit.After going through the report, Saxena accorded CBI the permission to investigate Sisodia, four other officers of the FBU and Sukesh Kumar Jain, a 1992 batch Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer who was Secretary (Vigilance).
Saxena, while giving the permission, said: “It can be unambiguously observed that there was a concerted effort by the state government to create an agency that was outside its mandate and not within the Constitutional scheme of governance. There seems to have been a well-conceived attempt to establish an extraneous and parallel covert agency with over-reaching powers of snooping and trespass, without any legislative, judicial or executive oversight whatsoever.”
As per Saxena’s letter to the Chief Secretary of Delhi, despite the Vigilance Department being under the Deputy CM, the agenda to create this agency was placed before the cabinet by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal himself and no “cabinet note”, as prescribed under the law, was circulated for this creation of a “private intelligence agency”.
This FBU started functioning with 17 officials, most of them who were retired from Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Central Paramilitary forces. No permission either to create posts for them or to recruit them from the LG, as is required as per law. It was only after a Delhi High court order dated 4 August 2016 that the LG office (which was headed by Anil Baijal at that time) was informed of this unit.
According to Saxena, despite the unit being made a part of the Vigilance department and hence answerable to Secretary of the said department, on 31 May 2016, an order was issued designating R.K. Sinha, Advisor to the CM, as Joint Director and the over all in-charge of the FBU and the Rs 1 crore worth Secret Service Fund (SSF) that was allotted to FBU. Sinha was to report directly to the CM and not to anyone else, thereby bypassing all administrative controls.
The said body was ostensibly created to get “actionable” and “relevant” feedback on the working of Delhi government related bodies and do “trap cases” despite having no legal act to support such an act.
The Delhi government has called the allegations “bogus”.“All allegations are completely bogus. Till now, CBI, ED and Delhi police have registered so many cases against us. About 163 cases have been registered against us. However, BJP has not been able to prove even a single case. About 134 of these cases have been dismissed by the courts and in rest of the cases too, the BJP-led central government has not been able to provide any evidence. All these cases are politically motivated. CBI and ED should rather investigate the dubious relationship between Modi and Adani where the real corruption happened,” the Delhi government said in a statement.
The AAP also issued a statement: “Allegations of political snooping against Sisodiaji are completely false. The whole world knows Modiji is involved in political snooping, not Sisodia. An FIR should be registered against Modiji, not Manishji.”
Shams Afroz, a Deputy SP rank officer, who was on deputation from Bihar, was made the Deputy Director in-charge of Administration and Finance and the SSF was put at his disposal.When the then Secretary, Vigilance in June 2016 asked Sinha to share the work that the said unit has done so far, he said that, “These are confidential matters concerned with the working of government of Delhi, departments and ministries and the reports directly goes to the Chief Minister. It will not be possible to expose the details of all the “sources” to somebody who is not supposed to know it.” Saxena has noted in the letter that it was important to find that these “sources” mentioned by Sinha were whether intelligence assets were created and planted in the ministries of government of India or in the offices of certain entities for the purpose of intelligence gathering?
As per the CBI, the unlawful manner of creation and working of the FBU caused wrongful loss to the government exchequer to the tune of approximate Rs 36 Lakhs and had sought booking the accused under sections 120B r/w 403, 409, 468, 471 & 477-A IPC and 13(2) r/w 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
The CBI, in its report to Saxena, also stated that an analysis of nature of reports generated by this unit reveals that while 60% of the same are related to Vigilance matters, whereas political intelligence and other issues accounted for around 40%.
It was also revealed that no formal action was taken against any public servant/department on the basis of the findings of this unit.The CBI on scrutiny of reports prepared by this unit during the period February 2016 to early part of September 2016 found that a substantial number of reports submitted by FBU officials related not to actionable feedback or information on corruption in any department, institutes, entities etc. under Delhi but related to political activities of persons, political entities & political issues touching political interest of Aam Aadmi Party, BJP or like which was beyond the scope and ambit of functions of FBU.
The CBI found that FBU presented fake vouchers of Rs 2.10 lakh as payment to two private detective agencies M/S Silver Shields and W.W. Security. The agencies denied receiving any money or working for any such unit. Later, Sisodia increased the remuneration of those working in FBU by Rs 25,000 per month despite the Special Secretary and Secretary Finance objecting to it as no report was placed on record on the work done by the FBU to warrant such a rise or show its utility.
The then Secretary Vigilance Ashwani Kumar in fact stated that since its inception no report on the work done by the FBU has come to knowledge and it should be closed down immediately to avoid further infructuous and questionable expenditure.
Saxena has further stated that since this secretive unit was working so clandestinely and without any legal backing and manned by people from Intelligence gathering background there needs to be a “detailed inquiry as to whether there existed any sinister design akin to challenging established Constitutional authority of the state by clandestinely subverting institutions and statues”.
Apart from Sisodia, those against whom CBI inquiry has been allowed include R.K. Sinha, Special Advisor to the CM and Joint Director FBU, Pradeep Kumar Punj, Deputy Director, FBU, Satish Khetrapal, Feedback officer FBU and Gopal Mohan, advisor Anti-corruption to the CM.
The CBI was apprised of this entire matter on the basis of a written complaint submitted by K.S Meena, then Deputy Secretary (Vigilance), Delhi on 4 November 2016 after which it registered a Preliminary Enquiry No. PE-07(A)/2016.
Initially, 20 posts in FBU were to be adjusted against 22 abolished posts of the Industries Department. Subsequently these 20 posts in FBU were adjusted against 88 posts created in the Anti-Corruption Branch which were created vide Cabinet Decision no. 2137 dated 1 April 2015. The unit was using vehicles, a car, two SUVs and three motorcycles and also engaged four Data Entry Operators from Intelligent Communications Systems India Ltd (ICSIL).