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ACB wants Amanatullah sacked as Delhi Waqf Board chief

The Anti-Corruption Branch has written to the Delhi Lieutenant Governor Secretariat accusing AAP MLA of hampering probe in a case against him by “bullying” witnesses.

Anjali Bhatia | New Delhi |

The Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) has written to the Delhi Lieutenant Governor Secretariat seeking removal of Amanatullah Khan as Delhi Waqf Board chairman for allegedly hampering a probe in a case against him by “bullying” witnesses, sources at the LG office said on Wednesday.

No immediate reaction was available from Khan who is also an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA from the Okhla constituency.

“The ACB has sought removal of Khan saying his criminal and bullying nature was preventing witnesses to come out against him and thus preventing the free and fair investigation in a corruption case registered against him,” the sources said.

It was also claimed by the ACB that the witnesses were afraid of coming out openly against Khan, they added.

A letter, written recently to the LG Secretariat by S K Gautam, the then Special Commissioner of Police (ACB), said the witnesses in the case are afraid of Khan due to his “aggressive behaviour” and his position in the Delhi Waqf Board.

The case against Khan pertains to “financial bungling” in the bank accounts of the Waqf Board, creation of tenancy in Waqf Board properties, “corruption” in purchase of vehicles and “illegal appointment” of 33 people in the Delhi Waqf Board in violation of the service rules, among others, the sources said.

A case in this regard was registered by the ACB in January 2020 under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code.

In July this year, Lt Governor VK Saxena granted CBI the sanction to prosecute Amanatullah Khan in the corruption case against him. The Central Bureau of Investigation had conducted investigations against Khan that revealed “sufficient prosecutable evidence” and it moved a request for prosecution to the L-G.

The CBI, following its investigation, stated that Khan, in connivance with former Waqf Board CEO Mehboob Aalam, ‘abused his official position and deliberately ignored rules and laid down procedures to cause huge losses to the government exchequer by arbitrarily appointing individuals by manipulating recruitment procedures to favour chosen individuals over thousands of deserving people who could have got employed, had the process of appointment been transparent and impartial.’

The investigative agency alleged that Khan bypassed the ‘basic principle of the right to equality and opportunity to provide undeserving and unauthorised benefits to specific pre-identified persons.’