New Delhi: Delhi’s jailed former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia has been booked by the CBI in a fresh case related to alleged misuse of official position and using the city government’s Feedback Unit for “political snooping”, officials said Thursday.
Already arrested by the CBI in the excise policy case and at present in the custody of the Enforcement Directorate, the woes of 51-year-old Sisodia aggravated after the agency registered a fresh case against him on Tuesday and five others for alleged criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, forgery and provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act, they said.
The agency has booked Sisodia, a 1992-batch IRS officer Sukesh Kumar Jain who was then secretary of vigilance, retired CISF DIG Rakesh Kumar Sinha who was working as special advisor to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and joint director in the Feedback Unit, they said.
Besides, former joint deputy director of Intelligence Bureau Pradeep Kumar’ Punj, who was working as deputy director of the Feedback Unit, retired assistant commandant of CISF Satish Khetrapal who was working as feedback officer and Gopal Mohan, advisor, anti-corruption, to Kejriwal were also booked in the case, officials said.
The agency has invoked IPC sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 403 (Dishonest misappropriation of property),409 (Criminal breach of trust by public servant), 468 (forgery), 471 (Using as genuine a forged document or electronic record), 477A (falsification of accounts) besides provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act against those named in the FIR.
Reacting to the development, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, “PM’s plan is to slap several false cases against Manish and keep him in custody for a long period. Sad for the country!” The case relates to Feedback Unit set by the Aam Admi Party to gather relevant information and actionable feedback regarding the working of the various bodies under the jurisdiction of the Delhi Government and to do “trap cases” to check corruption, the FIR alleged.
The unit started in 2016 with a provision of Rs 1 crore for secret service expenditure, the CBI FIR, registered on Tuesday and made public on Thursday, said.
The FIR by the Central Bureau of Investigation is an outcome of a preliminary enquiry which had “prima facie disclosed the offences” against the named accused.
The CBI, in its preliminary enquiry report, has alleged that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal moved the proposal in a Cabinet meeting in 2015, regarding setting up the unit but no agenda note was circulated. No sanction from the Lt Governor was taken for appointments in the Feedback Unit, it alleged.
“The Feedback Unit, in addition to collecting the mandated information, also collected political intelligence/intelligence qua miscellaneous issues,” the CBI said in its preliminary enquiry report.
The CBI had registered the preliminary enquiry on a reference from the Delhi government’s vigilance department, which had detected irregularities in the FBU.
Prima facie, the agency noted, there was a deliberate violation of rules, guidelines and circulars by “delinquent public servants”.
“The nature of violations committed is inherently dishonest and as such materials disclose abuse of official position with dishonest intention by concerned public servants Manish Sisodia, and Sukesh Kumar Jain, the then Secretary (Vigilance),” the report alleged.
According to the CBI, 60 per cent of the reports generated by the Feedback Unit pertained to vigilance and corruption matters, while “political intelligence” and other issues accounted for around 40 per cent.
“The scrutiny of such reports during the period from February 2016 to the early part of September 2016 shows that a substantial number of reports submitted by FBU officials related not to actionable feedback or information on corruption in any department, institute, entity etc. under GNCTD but related to political activities of persons, political entities and political issues touching political interest of Aam Aadmi Party, BJP, which was beyond the scope and ambit of functions of the Feedback Unit,” the CBI has alleged.
It alleged that the Feedback Unit was misused by the public servants concerned for a purpose other than the one for which it was manifestly created.
“Use of the Feedback Unit to this extent for the purpose of gathering political intelligence for AAP or for convenor Arvind Kejriwal can reasonably be interpreted to mean and constitute the obtaining of valuable thing or pecuniary advantage, as gathering this information otherwise would necessarily have entailed spending money,” the CBI alleged.
The CBI said the Feedback Unit was functioning for some “hidden purpose” which was not in the interest of the GNCTD but “private interest of the AAP and Manish Sisodia”, who played an active role in the creation of the unit, flouting the established rules of GNCTD and MHA in connivance with Sukesh Kumar Jain, the then vigilance secretary.
It was also revealed that no formal action was taken against any public servant or department based on the Feedback Unit reports, the CBI alleged.