According to officials with knowledge of the situation, Delhi LG VK Saxena instructed chief secretary Naresh Kumar on Saturday to file a first information report (FIR) against Delhi Jal Board (DJB) officials for alleged embezzlement of $20 million and submit an action taken report within 15 days.
The event occurs in the midst of a conflict between the lieutenant governor and the Delhi government, which is run by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
Officials with knowledge of the situation claim that starting in 2012, cash in the amount of over Rs. 20 crore was collected from individuals as water bills, and that for several years, it was transferred to a private bank account rather than DJB’s bank account.
Additionally, LG gave Kumar the task of locating the DJB employees allegedly responsible for the cash syphoning. According to representatives from the LG house, a report on the actions performed must be filed within the next 15 days.
The current DJB chairman, Manish Sisodia, recommended the investigation when it was brought to his attention by the board staff, and the ruling AAP has said that it supports the investigation.
Delhi LG orders FIR
According to a representative of LG House, the water utility chose Corporation Bank by an order in June 2012 to collect water bills on its behalf for a period of three years. After the fraud was discovered, the contract was further renewed in 2016, 2017, and even in 2019. In complete violation of the terms of the contract and with the knowledge of DJB authorities, the bank hired a private company to collect cash and checks and deposit them in the DJB’s bank account, the official said.
When the bank’s contract was extended past October 10, 2019, Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister, was the chairman of DJB, according to the authorities from LG House, “severe irregularities” surrounding the bank’s delayed/non-deposition of funds by the bank were discovered. “Despite knowing all this, the board further extended the contract till 2020,” an official said.
In addition to extending their contract, DJB increased their service fee from 5 to 6 per bill, according to the official. He also claimed that DJB officials had relaxed the rule that required vendors to deposit the money they had received from customers in the DJB bank account within 24 hours of collection rather than making them pay the swindled 20 crore and punishing them.
The representative from LG House claimed that the LG had taken serious note of the fact that, despite the fraud coming to light, DJB had not only made no attempt to recover the money and punish the guilty, but had also deceptively extended the contract of the embezzlers by a further year, establishing prima facie connivance.