Anti-corruption branch to probe role of Maliwal's aides: Court

Anti-corruption branch to probe role of Maliwal's aides: Court
Swati Maliwal, AAP leader and Delhi Commission for Women's chief, was today summoned as an accused in a case of alleged irregularities in the recruitment process of the women's panel, with a Delhi court directing Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) to further probe and identify her associates in the crime. Special Judge Hemani Malhotra said there was sufficient material and evidence to take cognisance of offences against Maliwal under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and directed her to appear before the court on February 6.

The court, however, said the investigation has not identified Maliwal's associates with whose connivance "illegal practices were adopted" and directed the police to probe their role and file supplementary charge sheet against them. "After meticulously examining the material placed before this court which includes the FIR, statements of the witnesses and documents, I am of the opinion that there is sufficient material and evidence to take cognisance of offences under Section 13(1)(d) and 13(2) (criminal misconduct by public servant) of the Prevention of Corruption Act," the judge said.

"However, from material placed on record, it appears that investigation has not identified other associates of Maliwal in whose connivance the illegal practices were adopted. "It would be, therefore, in the interest of justice that the IO be directed to investigate the matter further and identify the associates/aides of Swati Maliwal who had connived with her and file charge sheet under section 173(8) CrPC," the court further said. The charge sheet was filed by Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) on December 21, 2016 against Maliwal in connection with alleged irregularities in appointment of AAP workers in DCW.

The ACB had taken up probe on a complaint by former DCW chief Barkha Shukla Singh, who had alleged that several AAP supporters were given plum posts in the women's panel.  Singh, an ex­MLA, had filed the complaint against Maliwal and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on August 11, 2016, alleging that many illegal practices were adopted by them to financially benefit aides and associates of Aam Aadmi Party at the cost of public exchequer. A case was lodged against Maliwal on September 19 last year for alleged offences of cheating and criminal breach of trust by public servant under the IPC and the provisions of PC Act.

During investigation, ACB collected documents from the Office of DCW, Women and Child Development Department and Finance Department of Delhi government and recorded statements of witnesses. ACB said during probe, it was revealed that Maliwal, in connivance with others has abused her official position and deliberately ignored the procedure laid down rules to employ associates or AAP workers beyond the authorised sanctioned strength of 26 posts, causing unauthorised benefits to them at the cost of public exchequer.

It was also found during the investigation that the appointments were made without inviting any applications by way of publication or constituting a selection board. According to the prosecution, the probe revealed that the remuneration amount was hiked in whimsical manner thereby granting undue pecuniary benefits to the close associates of Maliwal and those connected to AAP.

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