Rajendra Kumar, former Delhi bureaucrat facing graft charges, says open to joining politics

New Delhi: Suspended IAS officer Rajendra Kumar, who has alleged that CBI wanted him to implicate Arvind Kejriwal in a graft case, on Sunday accused the Centre of protecting people who are tarnishing the image of the agency, and said he will take a call within next three months on whether to join politics.

He also wondered why no FIR has been registered in the suicide of former director general in the Ministry of Corporate Affairs B K Bansal and his family, while the same was readily done in the case of a private payment system company being allegedly cheated.

File image of Rajendra Kumar. PTI

File image of Rajendra Kumar. PTI

A former principal secretary to Kejriwal, Kumar was suspended after being arrested and charge sheeted by CBI in the graft case. He recently sought voluntary retirement from the Indian Administrative Service (IAS).

Kumar told PTI in an interview that joining politics was among the options he was "weighing", apart from NGOs and private companies of public spirit and that he will take a decision in the next three months.

Asked about which party he would pick, Kumar said, "This question will come when I am clear about which of the option I am to exercise.

"I have said that if politics is the path I choose all the parties are options, be it AAP, BJP or Congress." An IAS officer of 1989 batch, Kumar is an alumni of IIT Kharagpur and was recipient of the Prime Minister's Award for Excellence in Public Administration for 2006-07.

Kumar, who had held several key positions in the previous Sheila Dikshit government, was charged by CBI of corruption and criminal conspiracy for favouring a private IT company in awarding government contracts worth Rs 9.5 crore.

On his allegations made against CBI in his VRS application, Kumar said that he wanted to bring out clearly what are the problems "with our institutions and where they have been abused by people in power".

"I have been definitely threatened, verbally abused but not physically abused. But there are many other people including the co-accused who have been physically abused, thrashed and some of them have got permanent physical injury also," he said.

Kumar said the major issue was how "these people are so important" that an institution like CBI and the government which controls it are "willing to take down their own name just to protect them".

"It is very strange. CBI as institution is an inanimate organisation. It's the people there and if people who behave in such a manner are let off scot free and also protected so much so that the name of CBI and the government is itself going down then why are these people so important?

"As a system we did not have courage to register FIR (in the Bansal case). If that is the system then a lot of things are very very wrong, especially when the same system can register FIR based on the complaint of Paytm that five people have cheated it," he said.

CBI has already rejected Kumar's allegations.

Asked whether the Kejriwal government or the IAS association could have been more vocal in defending him, Kumar said it was for them to judge and "look into their own hearts" and find out.

"At the end law will take its own course and those who have misused law will have to answer for that," he said.

Rejecting CBI's claim that he was trying to "influence" the case, Kumar said since a charge sheet has already been filed, "in no way" could he have affected the probe.

He said that he wanted people in the IAS fraternity to treat his case an an "aberration" and not as a rule.

"But if civil servants get discouraged then one very important forbearer of public service and the rule of law would have gone," he said, refusing to call himself a "victim" of the acrimony between AAP and BJP.

About the case, he said, "The situation was and is very bitter but I would not like to call myself a victim. I will fight it out."

On former lt governor Najeeb Jung's statement that the tussle was essentially due to Kejriwal's interpretation of the constitutional provisions, Kumar said the rules are itself very clear and have no room for confusion.

"There are two people and both of them have different interpretations of the Constitution. One is saying my interpretation is correct. I would leave my statement at that.

"As long as we follow the rule of law, democracy does not have space for such things which has happened. We need to respect institutions and be very cautious about it and at every instance we need to raise our voice and protest if things go otherwise," he said.


Updated Date: Jan 15, 2017 15:00 PM

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