The Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, has forwarded a report to Lt Governor V.K. Saxena, recommending the immediate removal and suspension of Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar. The report accuses Kumar of "favoring" MetaMix Technologies Pvt Ltd, where his son, Karan Chauhan, is a founder.
According to sources, the Chief Secretary is alleged to have awarded a contract to MetaMix Technologies Pvt Ltd for developing AI software for the ILBS hospital without issuing any tender. Naresh Kumar is also the Chairman of ILBS Hospital.
The inquiry, led by Vigilance Minister Atishi, revealed that Chauhan is associated with a web of companies, many of which received contracts from government agencies in Delhi. The report suggests that there may be a conflict of interest, and the Chief Secretary may have unduly favored companies associated with his son.
The report alleges that Chauhan, as the founder of MetaMix Technologies Pvt Ltd, benefited from his father's position as Chief Secretary. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a partnership between MetaMix and ILBS was executed on January 25, 2023, according to the preliminary report.
The inquiry suggests that the Chief Secretary used his position and influence to enable his son's startup, MetaMix, to gain financial benefits, industry experience, and reputational gain from ILBS. The report describes it as a "textbook case of nepotism," with ILBS providing unrestricted access to valuable datasets crucial for developing augmented reality models.
ILBS, however, denied any payment to any vendor for the development of AI software and stated that it did not issue any purchase order or make any payment to any AI software developer or company. The hospital dismissed the allegations as "totally baseless" and emphasized its commitment to transparency and ethical practices.
The situation underscores the complexity of the relationship between government officials and private companies, raising questions about potential conflicts of interest and the need for transparent procurement processes.
(With Agency Inputs)