New Delhi: Delhi water minister Atishi on Tuesday opened yet another front against chief secretary Naresh Kumar as she accused him of not releasing funds to the Delhi Jal Board. Requesting LG VK Saxena to intervene in the matter, she said the alleged freeze of funds may trigger a severe water crisis in the national capital. She also demanded suspension of finance secretary Ashish Verma for not releasing the funds.
The minister said despite her being the finance minister of the union territory, the finance department wasn’t releasing funds for the agency, which provides water to the people of Delhi. She accused Verma of stopping all DJB funds since August at the behest of the chief secretary.
Atishi claimed there could be a water crisis in Delhi as there was no money to pay the salaries of DJB’s workers.
“Delhi is about to face a serious crisis of water supply and sewer maintenance due to non release of funds to the Delhi Jal Board, by the Finance Dept of Delhi Govt. Have written to the Hon’ble LG VK Saxena,” she wrote on X later.
“Earlier, these were routine matters where officers would execute the directions of the Ministers. However, after the GNCTD Amendment Act, officers only follow the directions of the Hon’ble LG as he controls ‘Services’ and ‘Vigilance’. Therefore have requested the intervention to prevent a crisis in Delhi,” she added.
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This comes days after Atishi – who also handles the vigilance department of the Delhi government – submitted a probe report to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, alleging irregularities in land acquisition for the Dwarka expressway. The report claimed Naresh Kumar benefited a company linked to his son with over ₹850 crore of “illicit profits”. The minister recommended the suspension of the chief secretary and a CBI probe into the matter.
“A clear nexus has been found between Naresh Kumar, his son Karan Chauhan and the beneficiary landowners who were provided a windfall gain of ₹897.1 crores at the cost of public exchequer… a detailed report will be submitted to the CM within one week,” Atishi said in the report.
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Kumar has denied the charge.
“Let CBI/ED also investigate such conspiracy being done by vested interests, including public authorities, to malign me, against whom action has been taken by me, including removal from services/posts, suspension, referring cases to ED, CBI and Delhi Police with approval of the competent authorities for investigation,” Kumar said in a statement.
On November 19, Delhi Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena refused to consider Atishi’s report alleging prima facie complicity of Naresh Kumar in the alleged scam.
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Saxena alleged the report was leaked to start a media trial, reported PTI.
“I have received the ‘Preliminary Report’ on ‘Complaints’, submitted by the Hon’ble Minister (Vigilance) and endorsed by the Hon’ble Chief Minister. It is surprising and unfortunate, to say the least, that this report, which deals with sensitive vigilance-related matters and has been marked to my Secretariat in confidential cover, is already in the public domain and its digital/electronic copies are freely available and details thereof have been widely reported in the media,” he has said in an official file, per PTI.
With inputs from PTI