CBI probe against Manish Sisodia

Kejriwal targets Prime Minister, alleges that the agency is being used as BJP is losing in Goa and Punjab

The Central Bureau of Investigation has initiated a preliminary enquiry against Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and unknown public servants for alleged violation of rules and regulations in awarding a contract for “Talk-to-AK” social media campaign.

The agency launched another enquiry into the appointment of Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain’s daughter as the adviser in the Health Department. “The probe has been started in both matters on the basis of complaints lodged by the Delhi government’s Deputy Secretary (Vigilance),” said a CBI official.

Internal mechanism

A preliminary enquiry is an institutionalised internal mechanism of the CBI whereby the agency verifies whether a proper regular case into the allegations can be made out.

The first preliminary enquiry pertains to the campaign launched in July last year and a dedicated website was also created for the purpose.

“We have instituted a preliminary enquiry against Mr. Sisodia and unknown government officials to probe the allegations that there were improprieties and violation of existing rules and regulations in the award of a work contract for ‘Talk-to-AK’ social media campaign on Google, Facebook and YouTube to reach out to people across the country. The campaign was to be implemented in two phases,” said the official.

The official said the Delhi government’s Principal Secretary had raised objections. However, the matter was put up before the Council of Ministers for an “ex post facto” approval for the execution of work and release of funds to the consultant hired for the purpose. “One Perfect Relations Pvt. Limited was hired as a consultant for the work. The Delhi Cabinet gave approval to the proposal involving expenditures to the tune of Rs. 1.5 crore,” said the official.

According to the CBI, the consultant had released the payments for the execution of work, “creating a liability” on the Delhi government.

The CBI move triggered a sharp reaction from Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who, through his Twitter handle, targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleging that the agency was being used because the BJP was losing in Goa and Punjab. “It seems Modiji has gone haywire. The country’s Prime Minister has got no other job left…,” he tweeted in Hindi. He also expressed apprehension of CBI searches at the Delhi Secretariat and Mr. Sisodia’s office on Thursday.

Mr. Sisodia tweeted: “Welcome to the battleground Modiji. I will wait for your CBI at my home and office tomorrow morning.”

Second enquiry

According to the CBI, the second preliminary enquiry, which has been instituted on the recommendation of Lieutenant-Governor, is related to the alleged irregularities in the appointment of Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain’s daughter Soumya as an adviser for the Mohalla Clinic project under the Health Department. “The enquiry is against Ms. Jain and Health Department Mission Director Tarun Seem,” said the official.

Before he demitted office last December, then Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung had forwarded seven complaints of alleged irregularities in the Kejriwal government to the CBI for further investigations. The agency has so far registered two cases, one against AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan for alleged irregularities in the appointments in Delhi Waqf Board. The second case pertains to the appointment of Nikunj Aggarwal as a senior resident doctor with Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalaya, and then as the Officer on Special Duty with the Health Minister Satyendra Jain.