The Delhi government has initiated an enquiry into the allegation against chief secretary Naresh Kumar about the alleged corruption in the acquisition of land at Bamnoli village for the construction of Dwarka Expressway.
The order for enquiry was issued by vigilance minister Atishi, who directed the divisional commissioner to put up all the information related to the Bamnoli land acquisition.
In the same case, the union ministry of home affairs has suspended 2013 batch IAS Hemant Kumar and sought CBI probe against him for alleged irregularities in awarding compensation for land acquisition in southwest Delhi's Bamnoli village.
As per the complaint, two land owners received astronomical compensation against acquisition of their land as compared to others.
It is believed that the two landowners – Subhash Chand Kathuria and Vinod Kathuria – are family members of a business aide of the chief secretary's son Karan Chauhan.
The alleged link of chief secy's son
Naresh Kumar is a 1987 batch IAS of AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territories) cadre. His son Karan Chouhan is strategic advisor in Anant Raj Limited, a company owned Aman Sarin, who is son-in-law of Subhash Chan Kathuria – one of the beneficiaries of land acquisition deal.
Chouhan has been deeply associated with Sarin as many business entities of Chouhan match addresses and email ids of Sarin's business entities. These facts establish that Chouhan is not merely as employee of Sarin but more like a business partner.
What is the row?
The land acquisition for the NHAI's Dwarka Expressway started way back in 2017. As per the land acquisition rules, Subash Chand Lathuria and Vinod Kumar Kathuria were paid a compensation of Rs. 41.52 crores for 19-acres of land at the rate of Rs 53 lakh per acre. However, both of them challenged the compensation amount. After that the government appointed an arbitrator to settle the dispute.
But questioning the impartiality of the central government appointed arbitrator, the duo approached the Delhi High Court in 2019 but to no avail.
Later in 2019, District Magistrate Southwest Delhi was asked to act as the arbitrator but the compensation amount remained till June 2022 when Hemant Kumar joined as district magistrate.
Meanwhile Naresh Kumar had also become chief secretary in April 2022. Within next one year, Hemant Kumar decided to increase the compensation from Rs 41.52 crores to Rs 353.7 crores during arbitration.
What the govt and chief secretary have to say?
“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,” Atishi said.
The chief secretary, however, said that it was an act of “mudslinging” by “disgruntled” persons facing vigilance probes.
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