New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s former Principal Secretary on Thursday said he had sought voluntary retirement after alleging harassment by the CBI.
Rajendra Kumar alleged that the Central Bureau of Investigation was pressurizing him to implicate the Chief Minister in the alleged wrongdoing he (Kumar) is accused of.
The CBI denied the allegations as “absolutely baseless”.
Reacting to Kumar’s statement, Aam Aadmi Party leader Kejriwal tweeted: “CBI raids my office, pressurizes officer to implicate me… Why are you so scared of us, (Prime Minister Narendra) Modiji? Chill.”
A sombre Kumar told reporters outside his residence: “I tender my voluntary retirement (VRS) request to the government from the services.
“It was a very difficult decision and I have taken (it) with a very heavy heart… There are many other ways to work for public welfare and I will seek those.”
He said that despite coming from a very poor family, the government gave him an opportunity to study in a prestigious school and also let him serve in the government for 27 years. “I am obliged for that.”
A 1989-batch IAS officer of Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory cadre, Kumar was accused of abusing his official position in awarding Delhi government contracts worth Rs 9.5 crore to private firms during 2007-2014 when the Congress ruled Delhi.
“I will stay in the public service forever till my last breath that is my determination,” Kumar said. “And no hurdle can distract me.”
Asked if the CBI pressurised him to name Kejriwal in the case, Kumar said: “Whatever I have said is the exact truth and I stand by it.
“I have already written in my VRS the main aim of the government (whichever it may be) was to put pressure on me to incriminate certain people, including Chief Minister Kejriwal,” he added.
A CBI statement said: “The allegation, which incidentally has come up after filing the chargesheet, that witnesses and accused were threatened by CBI officers to implicate a political functionary is absolutely baseless and denied.”
The allegations against Kumar were made by a former Delhi government official, Ashish Joshi, after he fell foul of the Kejriwal government that took office in February 2015.
Joshi had alleged that Kumar misused his position to award government contacts to private firms when he was with departments of education, IT and Health.
Kumar was arrested on July 4, 2016.
The case hit national headlines after Kejriwal alleged that the CBI raided his office in December 2015. The CBI denied intruding into Kejriwal’s office and said it was looking for evidence against Kumar.
After remaining in custody for 23 days, Kumar was granted bail on July 26. He has consistently denied the accusations against him.
According to CBI officials, Kumar, as chairman of Delhi Transco Ltd, allegedly facilitated a contract worth Rs 40.16 lakh to Endeavour Systems to develop a comprehensive management information system in 2009 without going through any tendering process.
As Secretary in the health and family welfare department of the Delhi government, Kumar also allegedly awarded a Rs 2.43 crore manpower project to Endeavour Systems in November 2010.
Similar allegations were made against him in other areas as well.
Kejriwal has always maintained that the CBI raid on his office was meant to target him and not Kumar.