This Article is From Jan 12, 2017

Arvind Kejriwal's Former Top Officer Rajendra Kumar Open To Joining AAP

Arvind Kejriwal's controversial former top officer Rajendra Kumar may soon join Aam Aadmi Party.

New Delhi: Arvind Kejriwal's controversial former top officer Rajendra Kumar may soon join his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). In his first interview since his arrest by the CBI last year for alleged corruption, the bureaucrat has told NDTV that he does not rule out joining the party of his former boss.

Mr Kumar, who was Principal Secretary to Mr Kejriwal when he was arrested in July, recently asked for early retirement from service in a letter that alleged that the CBI wanted him to implicate the Delhi Chief Minister for corruption.

"I want to continue my social service, whether it is any form or politics,'' he told NDTV. When asked whether he would join AAP, he admitted: "Yes, it could be AAP."

The IIT graduate, a 1989 cadre officer, said it wasn't just because of the rapport he shared with the Chief Minister but because of their outlook towards work. "No, it's not about comfort. It's about which path, which method would give me the best possible option," he said.

When pushed to say whether Arvind Kejriwal was that option, he nodded, "could be, could be. It could be the Congress, it could be the BJP or the Aam Aadmi Party too.''

The official stressed that a shared IIT past has nothing to do with the rapport he shares with Mr Kejriwal. He claimed they met when he was offered a place in the Chief Minister's staff in AAP's previous 49-day government.

The CBI case, he alleges, is the result of the perception that he is close to Mr Kejriwal. The bureaucrat has been charged with causing losses of 12 crores by favouring an IT company and giving a 9.5 crore tender for computers when he was in the education department.

Mr Kumar said he had received the Prime Minister's award in 2008 for the work he did in that very department.  His troubles started, he says, after the first AAP government ended.  

"Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung called me and said that there is a perception that I am close to the Chief Minister. I didn't know what to say to him,'' he said.

Since then, Mr Kumar claims, he has been slapped with cases from alcohol smuggling to IT cases. "They even went to my tenant and forced them to leave,'' he alleges.

Perhaps Mr Kumar's most serious charge is that the CBI forced and abused people to get evidence against him. The CBI has rubbished the allegation.