NEW DELHI: The Lieutenant Governor, V K Saxena, on Wednesday gave his consent to the CBI to register a case against Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia along with six others, including an IAS officer, in a case involving the illegal creation of a Feedback Unit (FBU) by the AAP government in 2015, which was allegedly used for spying political intelligence.
The AAP government has also been accused of misappropriation of funds allocated for the project.
Giving a go-ahead to the CBI, the L-G noted, “I am of the considered view that the case requires to be further investigated by CBI deeply, after registering a regular case. I, therefore, approve the proposal of the Directorate of Vigilance to forward the request of CBI in respect of Manish Sisodia, Dy Chief Minister, Delhi to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, the Competent authority to consider granting approval for ‘Investigation’ under Section 17A.”
The CBI, in its letter seeking an L-G nod, has alleged that the AAP government had created a “Secret Service Fund” and engaged a detective agency, namely Silver Shield Detectives. The CBI has alleged that “a provision of Rs 1 crore was kept for ‘Secret Service Expenditure’ for operationalisation of FBU and it has come to light that the vouchers used to draw money from this fund were fabricated”.
It has also been said that part of the fund was handled by Gopal Mohan, advisor, anti-corruption, to the CM.
State BJP termed the alleged surveillance operation as a snoop gate and said that the FBU was used to spy on MPs, MLAs, state and Central government officials and judges. The Delhi government, however, refuted the charges and slammed the BJP for accusing Sisodia of carrying out political espionage. The CBI has told the L-G that 60% of the FBU reports pertained to matters relating to the vigilance department, while 40% were about “political intelligence”.
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According to the CBI, the FBU started functioning in February 2016 and was manned by 17 contractual staff most of whom were retired officials of IB and Central paramilitary forces. “No approval was taken before the creation of a post for the FBU or for the recruitment made thereto from the L-G, Delhi, who is the competent authority under law to create all categories of posts in the Government of NCT of Delhi.”
What is Feedback Unit?
Proposed in 2015 by the Arvind Kejriwal government, the FBU was set up on February 1, 2016. A total of 17 people, including cops from Bihar, were part of the unit which was headed by a retired DG-rank official. The unit was given an established fund of Rs 1 crore and named Secret Service Fund. Funds have been given to private investigation agencies for snooping on political opponents.
So far, the FBU has given about 700 reports to the government. Its reports from February 2016 to September 2016 show a large number of reports have been related to political activities of persons, entities and issues touching AAP interest. (THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)