Some former Delhi Ministers are really worried and it has started showing on their faces. With Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party making no bones about its intentions to go after those involved in corruption in the previous Sheila Dikshit regime, the Congress leaders are worried about skeletons tumbling out of their cupboards.
A sting operation by a news channel recently showed officials in some ministry offices shredding papers or destroying files – purportedly containing details of the wrongdoings – and a former Delhi Minister even disowning his own Officer on Special Duty shown in the footage.
But bureaucratic circles are rife with the talk of the AAP Government gunning for the corrupt. This, many believe, would also raise their stature in the eyes of the people who for years have suffered either as they had to pay bribes at every step or because the various funds meant for them got siphoned off along the way.
Either way, the growing clamour is — it is “pay back” time. And the greatest encouragement appears to have come from an unlikely quarter – Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who on Friday said in the case of the Adarsh scam that “there was no question of protecting anyone”.
In the case of Delhi, there are many who have made their fortune over the last 15 years. Almost everyone knows of an OSD of another Minister who recently constructed a bungalow on a 500 square yard plot in East Delhi.
“Where did all this money come from? These leaders and their cronies have only filled their own pockets and brought a bad name for the Congress,” said an All India Congress Committee member.
Insisting that such cases are numerous and a close aide of a senior functionary is learnt to have amassed huge sums in real estate in Rajasthan, the leader said such cases need to be probed and the guilty brought to book.
AICC general secretary in-charge of Delhi Shakeel Ahmed said the party had from the word go made its intentions clear in such matters. “Everything need not be spoken in as many words. But what was the meaning of our support to the Aam Aadmi Party when we agreed to their 18-point charter of demands which included a section on pursuing corruption cases.”
As for the issue of the simplicity and austerity in public life, which the AAP has been demonstrating now, Mr. Ahmed said Congress president Sonia Gandhi had spelt out this issue clearly during the Burari convention where she had asked all the party workers to lead simple lives and not to make an ostentatious display of wealth in social functions and weddings.
On the denial of use of official bungalows by AAP, Mr. Ahmed said people would judge the party by its performance in the government and not by such displays. He said the former Congress Ministers in Delhi would also vacate their bungalows within the stipulated time frame.
“We have in the meantime asked the party nominated chairmen of various boards and committees to resign from their posts immediately. An order to this effect would be issued through the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee soon,” he said.