DJB Money Laundering Case: Court Orders ED to Provide Chargesheet Copy to Accused Individuals

Delhi’s Rouse Avenue Court on Thursday ordered the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to provide a copy of the charge sheet to the accused in a money laundering case associated with alleged irregularities in awarding tenders of the Delhi Jal Board (DJB).

During the proceedings, two accused individuals, Jagdish Arora, former DJB chief engineer, and Anil Aggarwal, a contractor, currently held in judicial custody, were presented before the court by the jail authorities, following court directives issued on Wednesday.

In accordance with the court summons issued while acknowledging the charge sheet on Wednesday, another accused, Tejinder Singh, appeared before the court, while the fourth accused, D K Mittal, former NBCC general manager, filed an application seeking exemption from personal appearance for the day.

The court has scheduled the matter for hearing on April 20 for document scrutiny.

The prosecution complaint, comprising approximately 8,000 pages, with 140 operational pages alongside annexures, was filed by the federal agency before the court on March 28.

In addition to individuals accused, the central probe agency also implicated NKG Infrastructure Limited in the charge sheet.

The federal agency alleges that bribe money, derived from corruption in a DJB contract, was funnelled as election funds to the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi.

The agency previously summoned Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for questioning but he did not appear.

Kejriwal was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on March 21 in another money laundering case linked to alleged irregularities in the Excise policy for the national capital. He remains in judicial custody.

As part of the investigation, the agency raided the premises of Kejriwal’s personal assistant Bibhav Kumar, AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP and treasurer N D Gupta, former DJB member Shalabh Kumar, chartered accountant Pankaj Mangal, and others in February.

An FIR filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) accuses Arora of awarding a DJB contract to NKG Infrastructure Limited, worth Rs 38 crore, despite the company not meeting technical eligibility criteria, forming the basis of the ED case.

Arora and Agarwal were arrested by the ED on January 31 in connection with the case. The agency claims NKG Infrastructure Limited secured the contract by submitting forged documents, and Arora was aware of the company’s lack of technical eligibility.

According to an ED statement, Arora received bribes in cash and bank accounts after awarding the contract, passing on the money to various individuals managing DJB affairs, including those connected with the AAP. The agency alleges bribe amounts were also used as election funds for the AAP.

This marks the second case where the ED has accused the AAP of accepting kickbacks. It alleges that Rs 45 crore out of a total of Rs 100 crore in bribe money from the scrapped Excise policy of 2021-22 was used by the AAP for campaigning in the Goa Assembly polls.

The agency asserts the DJB contract was awarded at inflated rates to facilitate bribe collection from contractors.

The ED alleges, “As against the contract value of Rs 38 crore, only about Rs 17 crore were spent towards the contract and the remaining amount was siphoned off in the guise of various fake expenses. Such fake expenses were booked for bribes and election funds.”

Delhi minister Atishi refuted the charges at a press briefing, claiming the case was another attempt to tarnish the image of the AAP and its leaders.

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About the Author: Nunnem Gangte