The Delhi Government on Monday claimed that it had suspended an Assistant Director of the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board and nine other officers in connection with a case of embezzlement of nearly Rs.20 crore which was meant for construction of night shelters for the poor and the homeless.
The announcement came within hours of Delhi BJP president Vijender Gupta urging Lieutenant-Governor Tejendra Khanna to immediately dismiss 28 officers of the Board for allegedly swindling the amount.
Mr. Gupta claimed that these officers had committed the “unpardonable crime and inhuman act” and due to this the poor have been deprived of night shelters in the intense cold weather.
He alleged that the scam had continued for over a decade and the Delhi Government had instead of punishing the guilty, tried to protect them. The BJP leader said the scam only came to light due to the Central Vigilance Commission, which kept pursuing the matter and assigned the work of investigating the racket to the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Responding to the charges, the Delhi Government said it had addressed a communication to the Director, CBI on October 29, 2010 requesting him to investigate the embezzlement of cash which was detected while the records were being scrutinised when the Slum and JJ Department of Municipal Corporation of Delhi was taken over by the Delhi Government to convert it into DUSIB.
“The Board was constituted to streamline the functioning of the activities of Slum and JJ Department under the MCD as it was marred with rampant corruption and nothing moved during the period when controlled by the MCD,” the Government said, adding that “the condition of slums and jhuggi jhonpri colonies was going from bad to worse and the government was flooded with large number of complaints from the residents.”
Stating that “immediately on constitution of DUSIB” it had started looking into the records and decided to approach Delhi Police at various levels to seek proper investigation of embezzlement of cash by an Assistant Director in connivance with other staff members, the Delhi Government said on realising the seriousness of the matter, it had decided to seek CBI’s intervention.
“The CBI was requested to initiate an independent investigation and take further action in order to book the culprits under appropriate sections of Indian Penal Code,” the Delhi Government said, adding that on its part it had suspended the Assistant Director concerned and 9 other officers involved in the matter.
Holding out that the embezzlement took place when the Slum and JJ Department was functioning under MCD, the Delhi Government sought to absolve itself of any culpability by stating that “it reflects negligence on the part of the then MCD and its senior executive officers.”