Battlelines drawn as 10 advisors to Delhi ministers are removed

Four other advisors — Rajat Tiwari, Prashant Saxena, Samir Malhotra and Raghav Chadha — no longer work with the Delhi government and had already resigned from their posts, said officials.

Written by Aniruddha Ghosal | New Delhi | Updated: April 18, 2018 6:45:14 am
The move evoked a sharp reaction from Manish Sisodia. The move evoked a sharp reaction from Manish Sisodia.

Following communication from the Union Home Ministry, the Delhi government has cancelled the appointment of 10 key advisors to ministers and clarified that the “creation” of these posts was “void”.

The order by the Delhi government’s general administration department (GAD) said that the MHA, in a letter, had “clarified” that the “posts on which the appointees are officiating are not in the list of posts approved for the ministers and chief minister” of the Delhi government. It added that “no prior approval of the central government” had been taken for “creation of said posts on which these persons have been appointed on co-terminus basis, which is a requirement” as per a 1997 MHA order.

The GAD order also maintained that with ‘Services’ of the Delhi government falling within the ambit of the Centre, the “creation of posts” was invalid since the Delhi government was “not competent” to do so. It said, “The MHA clarified that ‘Services’ under the government of NCT of Delhi is a subject reserved for the central government as per the Constitution. Therefore, creation of posts by Delhi cabinet for accommodating these appointees is void ab-initio being done by an agency not competent under the law to do so.”

It concluded, “Since creation of these posts and subsequent appointment on these posts are not valid, all previous orders regarding creation of these posts and appointments made against are hereby cancelled.”

The order was signed by deputy secretary GAD Promila Mitra since secretary GAD Manoj Parida was on leave, officials said. When contacted, Mitra said, “I am not authorised to speak on the issue.”

The posts of CM Kejriwal’s two advisors — Nagendar Sharma and Gopal Mohan — were left untouched. Most of the aides who have been removed were working for ministers Manish Sisodia and Satyendar Jain.

Those whose posts have been cancelled include Atishi Marlena, Ram Kumar Jha and Brigadier Dinkar Adeep. Three advisors, Marlena, Amardeep Tiwari and Arunoday Prakash, were appointed when AAP still had control over the Services department, sources claimed.

Four other advisors — Rajat Tiwari, Prashant Saxena, Samir Malhotra and Raghav Chadha — no longer work with the Delhi government and had already resigned from their posts, said officials. In a separate order on Wednesday evening, another advisor, A K Singhal, who was working with the health minister, was also removed from his position.

Chadha was hired by Sisodia for two-and-a-half months to aide with the budget in 2016 for a salary of Re 1 per month. Marlena, hired in 2015, also drew a salary of Re 1 per month.

Explaining the role of these advisors, an AAP leader said, “These advisors brought expertise and domain knowledge. They were able to function as the eyes and ears of ministers and greatly help in the day-to-day running of the government. This will have a very negative impact since officials are no longer answerable to them. Marlena, especially, was the point person for key projects coming up.”

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