Muffler Man Kejriwal Spent Rs 45 Crores On Home Renovation...

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Kejriwal Spent Rs 45 Crore On Home Renovation During Lockdown

| Updated: April 26, 2023 11:59

For the common man, the figures are astronomical and way beyond a lifetime’s earnings, leave alone spends. But for Indian politicians, it seems, talking in crores or crores running into hundreds is just drawing from the same well: tax payer’s money.

Joining in the list of beneficiaries, the latest name is none other than AAP supremo and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. Verified media reports have now confirmed that Kejriwal’s official bungalow in Civil Lines was renovated at a cost of almost Rs 45 crore. In a leading publication, the report headlined “Operation Sheesh Mahal” noted that Rs 44.78 crore of taxpayer funds were utilised for the renovations, raising questions about the Aam Aadmi Party’s commitment towards the common man’s simple aspirations. 

That the renovation came at a time (September 2020 to December, 2021) when the lockdown drove many to a frugal existence and some to suicide over loss livelihood, questions the party leader’s pledge to “serve the common man in capacity of a common man.”

The AAP retorted saying the nearly 80-year-old house was structurally unsafe and had to be rebuilt. In fact, the party reiterated that the property did not belong to the CM but was a government-allotted house. “The house was in a dilapidated state, having been built in 1942. After three serious incidents, which included the ceiling of the CM’s parents’ room falling, the ceiling of CM’s bedroom collapsing, and office ceiling collapsing, the Public Works Department recommended construction of a new house,” read the party’s statement.

The house in question is spread over an area of almost 1,400 sqm. It includes a ground and first floor. Post the “renovation,” the house has an additional floor and the total area has increased to 1,905 sqm.

In the report’s aftermath, what has begun is a political slugfest between the BJP and the AAP. “He must immediately resign. Kejriwal’s simplicity and professed honesty has been exposed,” declared LoP in Delhi Assembly Ramvir Singh Bidhuri.

Meanwhile, with the drama unfolding, a PWD official claimed that the entire structure was redone. “It was not renovation. A new structure has come up in the place of the old one,” claimed the senior PWD functionary. 

Documents now flashed across media prove that a total of ₹44.78 crore against a sanctioned amount of ₹43.70 crore was spent on “addition/alternation” of the government accommodation on 6, Flagstaff Road in Civil Lines.

Interestingly, the marble used for flooring has been imported from Vietnam. Pegged at ₹3 crores, “Deor Pearl Marble,” is known for its superior quality. Additionally, Rs 21,60,000 was spent on the chemical adhesive used to fix the marble. Another sum of ₹40 lakhs was spent on installing six almirahs. New curtains came at Rs 5-8 lakh per piece and with 23 such curtains, the total billing stands at Rs 97 lakhs. In a larger frame, nearly ₹11.30 crore was spent on interior decoration, ₹6.02 crore on stone and marble flooring, ₹1 crore on interior consultancy, ₹2.58 crore on electrical fittings and appliances, ₹2.85 crore on fire-fighting system, ₹1.41 crore on wardrobe and accessories fitting, and ₹1.1 crore on kitchen appliances.

The report comes at a time when AAP’s heavyweights Satyendar Jain and Manish Sisodia are in jail for their alleged respective roles in land and liquor scams. It is also worth mentioning that Kejriwal had, in 2013, rejected government bungalows for smaller flats in an apparent bid to replicate the common man’s moderate means of living. 

AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP Raghav Chadha lashed out at the report stating: “The estimate for the Prime Minister’s sprawling new house is Rs 467 crore. The actual cost of the Central Vista project touched Rs 20,000 crore. Further, renovation cost of the PM’s 7 RCR residence finally stood at three times the estimate. Though proposed to wind up at Rs 27 crore, eventually Rs 89 crores was drawn from the government’s coffers.” 

He also pointed at “repair work undertaken at Delhi L-G’s house which has already crossed the Rs 15 crore mark. BJP is a master at attention diverting. They do not wish to respond to former J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik’s charges that the Pulwama attack owes to lapses by the Modi government.”

However, a decade later and with the charges of scams looming large over the party, AAP’s image no doubt stands tarnished. 

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