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Arvind Kejriwal’s New Home CBI Probe: CBI Probes Alleged Violations In Building Delhi Chief Minister’s New Home Made at The Cost Of 44.78 crores

New Delhi, 27 September(City Times): Arvind Kejriwal’s New Home CBI Probe: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has launched a preliminary inquiry into alleged irregularities surrounding the construction of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s new residence. This investigation encompasses claims of tender violations and other irregularities related to the construction project. Should the inquiry reveal a prima facie case, the CBI will proceed to file an FIR.

The CAG’s Special Audit

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India is set to conduct a special audit focused on the “administrative and financial” irregularities tied to the renovation of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s official residence. This decision comes following a recommendation from the Ministry of Home Affairs, prompted by a letter from Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena’s office on May 24.

Allegations and Controversy

A controversy has arisen surrounding the renovation of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s official residence, with allegations made by the BJP claiming that approximately Rs 45 crore was spent on its “beautification.” The official residence, located at 6, Flagstaff Road in the Civil Lines area of the city, has never been used as the official residence for Delhi’s chief ministers in the past.

Historical Background of CM Residences in Delhi

Over the past 30 years, Delhi has seen five different chief ministers, each residing in different accommodations. Since there is currently no designated residence for the Chief Minister in Delhi, it is not mandatory for future Chief Ministers to utilize the same bungalow as their official residence. Here is a historical overview of the residences used by Delhi’s Chief Ministers in the past.

Delhi CM Residences in the Past

In 1993, Delhi was granted special status among Union territories, resulting in the appointment of a Chief Minister and the allocation of an official residence for the Chief Minister. The first Chief Minister under this new system was Madan Lal Khurana, a senior politician from the BJP. When Madan Lal Khurana assumed office in 1993, he was allotted a house near the Delhi Vidhan Sabha.

Madan Lal Khurana and 33-Shamnath Marg

Madan Lal Khurana became the first Chief Minister of Delhi following the governance system change. His official residence was assigned at 33, Shamnath Marg, which was in close proximity to the Old Delhi Secretariat, also known as Delhi Vidhan Sabha.

Despite rumors of the residence being haunted and claims that no one residing there could complete their tenure in office, Madan Lal Khurana chose this bungalow as his official residence, dismissing these superstitions. However, during the first six months of his tenure, he did not reside in the bungalow, opting to commute to his office from his personal residence in Kirti Nagar.

According to his son, Harish Khurana, “We had four rooms in that particular flat. One room was on the ground floor, and the other three were on the first floor. We shifted after six months of my father resuming office due to security concerns while commuting to the secretariat from Kirti Nagar.”

LG’s Office Takes Action

In response to media reports detailing alleged irregularities in the renovation of the Chief Minister’s residence, the Delhi Lieutenant Governor’s office has taken action. Recognizing the sensitivity of the matter, they directed the Chief Secretary to immediately secure and safeguard all records related to the renovation. Following the examination of these records, a factual report on the matter is expected to be submitted within 15 days.

According to sources within the Delhi government, the Lieutenant Governor instructed the Chief Secretary to prioritize the collection of all files related to the renovation. This action is in response to previous instances where files, including those related to excise policy matters, went missing, and evidence was allegedly destroyed. Based on the collected files, the Chief Secretary will investigate the roles of various officers in the PWD department and even those of ministers.

The investigation will also scrutinize whether financial rules were modified to expedite permissions for the renovation project and identify those responsible for any such changes.

Ultimately, the Chief Secretary will compile a comprehensive factual report within 15 days, outlining the responsibilities of all individuals involved in the renovation.

The Issue at Hand

Documents provided by sources reveal that a total of Rs 44.78 crores were spent on “addition or alteration” of Arvind Kejriwal’s government accommodation at 6, Flagstaff Road in Civil Lines, surpassing the sanctioned amount of Rs 43.70 crores. This expenditure occurred in six installments between September 9, 2020, and June 2022.

The breakdown of the expenses includes Rs 11.30 crores for interior decoration, Rs 6.02 crores for stone and marble flooring, Rs one crore for interior consultancy, Rs 2.58 crores for electrical fittings and appliances, Rs 2.85 crores for a fire fighting system, Rs 1.41 crores for wardrobe and accessories fitting, and Rs 1.1 crore for kitchen appliances.

An additional Rs 8.11 crores out of the sanctioned amount of Rs 9.99 crores were spent on the camp office of the Chief Minister at his official residence.

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