Rejecting request for voluntary retirement from IAS officer Rajendra Kumar, who was the Principal Secretary to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the Central government on Monday gave a go-ahead to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to prosecute him in a corruption case. Meanwhile, sources said he plans to take a political plunge after resigning from the post and will most likely join the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
Kumar has been booked for alleged corruption during his stint with the Delhi government, when he held multiple posts, including that of Secretary of the Information Technology (IT) Department. Kumar had sought voluntary retirement in January this year. The 1989-batch Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre officer’s request was denied as he has been chargesheeted in a corruption case, which is pending, the Centre stated.
Last year, the CBI had registered a case against Kumar, arrested him and chargesheeted him. The agency alleged that Kumar, along with some other accused persons, entered into a criminal conspiracy in award of contracts between 2007 and 2015 and caused a loss of Rs 12 crore to the Delhi government. He has been charged with criminal conspiracy, cheating, and forgery under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), besides provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, along with eight other people and the Endeavour Systems Private Limited.
Kumar was also suspended after the registration of the case.
It is pertinent to mention that Kumar was a close aide to the Chief Minister and had also gone against an order of cadre-controlling authority, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). Political pundits are of the view that because of Kumar’s proximity to the AAP supremo, he could also be nominated as a Rajya Sabha member next year.
Many people in the political circles said the timing of Kumar’s request for voluntary retirement proved that he could very soon take a plunge into politics to take on the BJP government at the Centre. But he can seek voluntary retirement only after he is cleared by the Vigilance Department.
In his 26-page request, Kumar had conveyed that the “system was against those who were discharging their duties”. He said the major issue was how “these people are so important” that an institution such as CBI and the government that controls it are “willing to take down their own name just to protect them”.
“If such people are let off scot-free and also protected so much so that the name of the CBI and the government itself is going down, why are these people so important?” Kumar said. “As a system, we did not have the courage to register an FIR (in the Bansal case). If that is the system then a lot of things are very very wrong, especially when the same system can register an FIR based on the complaint of Paytm that five people have cheated it,” he said.