regular-article-logo Saturday, 02 March 2024

Delhi Vigilance Minister Atishi initiates inquiry against chief secretary Naresh Kumar in Bamnoli land acquisition case

Complaint alleged that chief secretary's son was employed by relative of landowner, who received enhanced compensation for land acquired for road project

PTI New Delhi Published 11.11.23, 11:17 PM
Atishi Marlena

Atishi Marlena File picture

Delhi Vigilance Minister Atishi on Saturday initiated an inquiry into a complaint against Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar and summoned all the files on Bamnoli land acquisition for further action, officials said.

The complaint alleged that the chief secretary's son was employed by a relative of a landowner, who received an enhanced compensation for land acquired for a road project, official sources said on Friday.


Atishi directed the divisional commissioner and vigilance director to provide all the files related to Bamnoli land acquisition to her by 7 pm on Saturday, the officials said.

Sources said the Vigilance Directorate, in reply to a note from the minister, has cited various guidelines, including those from the Vigilance Manual of 2021, and pointed out that she has no authority to inquire into the matter, which is already being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

However, the minister was provided with a certified copy of all the files of the Directorate of Vigilance related to the matter, the sources added.

The directorate has also sought a copy of the complaint from the minister so that it could be examined in accordance with the Chief Vigilance Commission's instructions.

In separate notes to the divisional commissioner and vigilance director, the minister said "no files concerning the matter are to be processed through the chief secretary since he is the subject of inquiry and therefore, has a conflict of interest".

Reacting to the complaint against him, the chief secretary has maintained that it is an act of "mudslinging" by "disgruntled" people facing vigilance investigation.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday marked the complaint for an inquiry and sought a detailed report in the matter from the vigilance minister.

A complaint has been received by the chief minister regarding the acquisition of land in Bamnoli village for the Dwarka Expressway, Atishi said in her note.

"It has been alleged that the two landowners -- Subhash Chand Kathuria and Vinod Kathuria -- are family members of a business associate of the son of the current Chief Secretary of Delhi, Naresh Kumar," she said.

In May, then district magistrate (South West Delhi) Hemant Kumar awarded Rs 353 crore as compensation to two individuals for 19 acres of land acquired in Bamnoli, at the rate of Rs 18.54 crore per acre. The land was acquired by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) in 2018 for the construction of the Dwarka Expressway.

"DM, South West overturned a 2018 decision by the adjudicating authority, the additional district magistrate, granting compensation of Rs 41.52 crore for the same parcel of land, based on a valuation of Rs 53 lakh per acre," the note read.

Hemant Kumar was recently suspended by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and a CBI probe was ordered in the matter.

Atishi said the Vigilance Directorate has already examined the issue of land acquisition in Bamnoli and the involvement of Hemant Kumar.

"However, the role of the chief secretary has not been examined yet. An inquiry has been initiated on this on the directions of the chief minister," she said.

The chief secretary had earlier said proactive action, including initiating a CBI probe, was ensured against the officer concerned.

The original award of Rs 41 crore was raised to Rs 353.79 crore on May 15 by the then district magistrate (South West Delhi). Divisional Commissioner Ashwani Kumar flagged the matter to the chief secretary on June 2.

The chief secretary directed the divisional commissioner to monitor the issue on a fortnightly basis and later, also asked the Vigilance Directorate to probe the matter.

Further, with the approval of Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena, a CBI probe and departmental action against the district magistrate were recommended to the MHA on September 20.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

Follow us on: