Office searched at 3 a.m.; sensitive files photocopied: Vigilance official

Will probe the matter, but why did he possess files after being divested of duties, says govt. spokesperson; breaking lock of an office shows Kejriwal is scared: BJP; official was involved in probes into CM house renovation and ‘feedback unit’ case

Published - May 17, 2023 01:40 am IST - New Delhi

CM Arvind Kejriwal with Ministers Kailash Gahlot and Saurabh Bharadwaj after the Supreme Court’s May 11 verdict.

CM Arvind Kejriwal with Ministers Kailash Gahlot and Saurabh Bharadwaj after the Supreme Court’s May 11 verdict. | Photo Credit: File Photo

Adding a new twist to the ongoing tussle between the AAP government and Special Secretary (Vigilance) Y.V.V.J. Rajasekhar, the latter alleged that his office was searched at 3 a.m. on Tuesday and that files related to ongoing probes “might have been destroyed”.

A Delhi government spokesperson said the matter will be probed but asked why Mr. Rajasekhar was in possession of the files after he had been divested of his duties.

The development comes four days after Vigilance Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj ordered that the Special Secretary be removed from all works assigned to him.

The Minister issued the order in a letter to the Vigilance Secretary last week, saying there were complaints about Mr. Rajasekhar “running an extortion racket”.

Apart from the allegations related to the renovation of the CM house, Mr. Rajasekhar, as per sources, was involved with the investigation in various cases, including the alleged irregularities in the formulation and implementation of the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy, the ‘feedback unit’ case and the alleged violation in publishing government advertisements.

‘File on CM House’

In his letters to Delhi Chief Secretary and Secretary (Vigilance) on Tuesday, Mr. Rajasekhar said he is apprehensive that files in his office, including those related to the excise policy case and the CM house renovation, “will be destroyed or might have been destroyed in due course of time”.

“It is understood from a preliminary enquiry that a staff member opened the room of the undersigned and allegedly photocopied all the records. The undersigned [Mr. Rajasekhar] is not sure whether any record/file was taken away or otherwise tampered with or photocopied,” the letter stated.

When asked, Delhi Police said that no complaint had been received regarding the matter.

A Delhi government spokesperson said, “When his work has been assigned to other officials, as per protocol, he should have officially handed over all files to the other officials. What interest does he have in keeping some files?”

“Regarding his allegation about someone breaking into his office, the government will get it thoroughly investigated. If the allegations are true, strict action will be taken,” the spokesperson added.

In his letters, Mr. Rajasekhar also said that he received Mr. Bharadwaj’s instructions, removing him from all assignments on Monday morning, following which he submitted 76 confidential files to the Department Secretary.

He added that some files were “more sensitive” and, instead of submitting them, he had kept them in his custody.

The Special Secretary also asked the department officials not to take verbal orders from the Minister and that they should share records only after receiving written instructions.

“I have serious apprehension that our rooms might have been bugged; there is every likelihood of breach of secrecy, tampering of records, fabrication of records,” he wrote in his official communication.

BJP cries foul

Commenting on the matter, Delhi BJP chief Virendra Sachdeva said, “Breaking the lock of an official’s office at night shows how scared Kejriwal is and proves that all corruption allegations against him are true”. He accused Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of intimidating government officials.

Meanwhile, a Raj Niwas official said that Lieutenant-Governor V.K. Saxena had returned various files pertaining to the services matter to the government in compliance with the Supreme Court order on May 11.

However, the government spokesperson said, “The Chief Secretary and Services Secretary are still creating hurdles.”

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