New Delhi: Designer accessories and fittings worth Rs 48 lakh, artistic and ornamental work amounting to Rs 5 crore, marble work worth Rs 2.4 crore, sauna bath and jacuzzi worth Rs 20 lakh, and over a crore worth of fancy modular kitchen — these are the items put in at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s official residence and camp office during a renovation undertaken in 2020, the Delhi vigilance department has found.
Even as the Covid pandemic hit in 2020, the Delhi government allegedly spent Rs 52.71 crore to renovate CM Kejriwal’s official residence, and camp office at 6, Flag Staff Road, according to a vigilance department report to Lieutenant Governor (L-G) V.K. Saxena. ThePrint has accessed a copy of the report.
According to the 12 May report, signed by Y.V.V.J. Rajasekhar, special secretary, vigilance, the total cost of renovating the CM’s house stood at Rs 33.49 crore, while that for the camp office stood at Rs 19.22 crore. The report adds that several rules were flouted and approvals were not sought while executing the project.
The report comes after the L-G took cognisance of media reports on renovation of the CM’s official residence and directed the Chief Secretary, Naresh Kumar, in late April to submit a report on the alleged irregularities in 15 days.
According to the report, there were irregularities in felling and transplantation of trees by the Delhi government’s Public Works Department (PWD).
Further, it notes that sanctions were not taken for the building plans of “such construction/addition/alteration activities” despite the PWD’s Building Committee being in place to act as the local body. It says that the two revised drawings regarding the interior design were done by “Bobby Mukherji and Associates” whose appointment was “not formally done, as per records provided by the PWD”.
According to the report, major changes were made in the drawings of the interiors submitted by the consultants based on the requirements of “Honourable CM Madam,” which may (have) resulted in deviation in the total work done, amount and sanctioned amount of work.
ThePrint reached special secretary Rajasekhar repeatedly over phone and WhatsApp message for comment, but received no response till the time of publication of this report. The report will be updated once a response is received.
An Aam Aadmi Party spokesperson told ThePrint Thursday that it’s unfortunate that the Bharatiya Janata Party (in power at the Centre), after failing in all its attempts to malign the image of CM over the past nine years, is now targetting the latter’s residence.
“There is nothing in the report to say any crime was committed. This is the first time an official CM residence complex was created in Delhi comprising the CM’s residence, office secretariat, auditorium, staff quarters etc. The BJP should focus its energies on investigating the Adani scam,” the spokesperson said, referring to American short-seller Hindenburg Research’s report alleging corporate malpractice, stock price manipulation and fraud by the Adani Group.
“The CM’s popularity is spreading fast across the country and Modiji is scared of it…That’s why Modiji has unleashed all agencies against Kejriwalji. Modiji has not been able to find irregularities of a single penny so far,” the spokesperson said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Delhi unit hit back, however, with spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor telling ThePrint Thursday, “This report confirms the earlier statements made by the party on the irregularities. It is shameful to note that Delhi Chief Minister’s bungalow is a case of illegal construction. It is a case of reconstruction in disguise of renovation work order.”
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Irregularities in tree cutting, relocation
According to the vigilance department report, permission for tree felling or transplantation was obtained on five occasions. This, it highlighted, was done for less than ten trees on each occasion, as for any number higher than that, a higher authority’s nod would be required.
For the trees cut on the site, 280 trees had to be planted at the DRDO complex. The report noted that of the 280 trees to be planted at the complex, “only 83” trees were found to have been planted. “There were 60 pits with no sign of plants there, [which] might have died. There is no sign of planting of the remaining 137 trees at this site.”
On further changes inside the house, the report notes, “Modular kitchen, laundry and pantry were initially not taken in the scope of work but as per a meeting held between Honourable CM Madam, Honourable PWD minister and the consultant, it was decided to provide it in the residence”.
The estimated cost of these items was another Rs 1.64 crore, says the report.
(Edited by Smriti Sinha)
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