Action Taken on Officers Involved in Delhi CM House Renovations

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In a significant development, two Delhi officers have been suspended and action is being sought against five others involved in the construction and renovation of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s official residence on Flag Staff Road, Civil Lines.

The Vigilance department of the Delhi government, in a letter to the Director General of the Central Public Works Department (CPWD), stated that Lt Governor V K Saxena has recommended actions ranging from suspension to disciplinary proceedings against five officers. These officers have either retired or been transferred out of Delhi, placing them under CPWD’s jurisdiction.

The officers suspended are Executive Engineer Vinay Chaudhary and Assistant Engineer Rajat Kant. This marks the first action in this matter, following the issuance of show-cause notices to all seven officers a year ago.

The controversy over the renovation expenses and procedures was first raised by the Vigilance department last year. Although Kejriwal remains in custody over unrelated Delhi excise policy cases, his family continues to reside in the official residence, which includes the CM’s camp office.

Among the officers facing action, two have retired: A K Ahuja, then Principal Chief Engineer, and Shibnath Dhara, then Executive Engineer (Central and New Division). Both are facing recommended disciplinary proceedings for a “major penalty.”

The other officers are P K Parmar, then Chief Engineer (East); Ashok Kumar Rajdev, Chief Engineer; and Abhishek Raj, who was Superintendent Engineer.

Vinay Chaudhary and Rajat Kant declined to comment on their suspension. Ahuja, when contacted, stated, “I retired in September 2020 and the tender was floated in October. Work was awarded in December… There might be some error and I had in my reply to the show-cause notice mentioned that I retired when work on this project started… It was mentioned in the notice sent to me that I recommended demolition of the structure but it was done by the Engineer-in-Chief, not me.”

Abhishek Raj expressed his intention to wait for CPWD’s decision on the matter. The other officers, Shibnath Dhara, P K Parmar, and Ashok Kumar Rajdev, could not be reached for comment.

Last year, the Vigilance department accused the officers of “wasteful expenditure” of almost Rs 53 crore on the renovation and reconstruction of the official residence. The officers were asked to respond to allegations of various “commissions and omissions” based on a department report.

The department’s letter to the DG, CPWD, stated that the officers were using delaying tactics and had approached the courts without receiving any relief. The recommendations are now with the CPWD, and any further action will require approval from Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.

The Vigilance department also requested an Action Taken Report from CPWD. According to the show-cause notice issued last year, Kejriwal was entitled to a residence below Type VIII accommodation, but the renovations resulted in a house “disproportionately high” regarding established norms.

The notice highlighted an increase in built and plinth area from 1,397 sqm to 1,905 sqm, with an additional Rs 6.94 crore spent on “superior specification work,” including artistic work, a sky-light window, and Burma teak wood. It also questioned the demolition of the old structure without a survey report and the lack of sanctioned building plans for the new construction.

The Vigilance department previously reported that around Rs 52.71 crore was spent on the residential complex-cum-camp office of the Chief Minister, noting that what was supposed to be an addition and alteration turned into the construction of an entirely new building.

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