Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday attacked the Centre saying it tried to wrest control over the capital’s Anti-Corruption Branch’s (ACB) fearing filing of an FIR against a Union Cabinet Minister, but asserted that there was no such move.
The Chief Minister said he was told about such an apprehension by a number of senior Union Ministers and BJP leaders.
“(Najeeb) Jung changed the ACB chief on June 8 all of a sudden without informing me, secretly and without giving any reason. That’s because they (Centre) thought we were going to lodge an FIR against a Cabinet Minister of which we had no intention,” Kejriwal said.
The Chief Minister also reiterated his charge that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not letting his government work as the Lt Governor was being used to create hurdles in governance.
“What has Jung got to do with me? Are there any property issues between us? Najeeb Jung does not have the courage to create trouble. Modi through Jung does not want Kejriwal to work,” Kejriwal told a TV channel.
He alleged that for the last one month “Delhi Police officials sent by Narendra Modi have been occupying the Home Department” which is located above the Chief Minister’s office.
“Secondly, paramilitary forces have taken over ACB forcibly. How is (L K) Advani wrong in saying Emergency like situation exists?” he asked.
“They have passed an order saying they will appoint chief secretary to peons. Then who will listen to the CM? This has never happened in the history of India. Orders are being given from PMO and BJP headquarters,” he added.
Talking about AAP government’s “constraints” in ensuring effective functioning of ACB, he said, “If a Delhi police ‘thulla’ seeks money from a street vendor, that is not acceptable. We will surely file a case against that.”
The use of word ‘thulla’, slang for a cop, by Kejriwal was slammed by the BJP while Police Commissioner B S Bassi also hinted his displeasure.
“I refuse to believe that the honourable Chief Minister would have used any word of this sort,” Bassi said.
The Chief Minister slammed the appointment of M K Meena as ACB chief.
“Meena says that he was sent to ensure that we don’t act against any Delhi police officer,” he said and alleged that probe in cases against several high profile people has been stopped.
On Aam Aadmi Party’s political expansion, the AAP chief said the party would contest Punjab assembly election and that he would mull over campaigning for Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in the upcoming polls in that state.
“Will mull over campaigning for Nitish (Kumar). He has sent anti-corruption officers from his state so people of Delhi are thankful to him. I have not thought about third front or campaigning in other states. Will surely contest in Punjab,” Kejriwal said.
On arrest of two party MLAs, Kejriwal said the party may have been wrong in giving tickets to few people but it was not coming in the way of action against them.
“They are acting only against AAP MLAs. Don’t pick and choose. Did they remove (Sushma) Swaraj, (Shivraj Singh) Chouhan or (Vasundhara) Raje? We removed Tomar in minutes,” he said.
He said whatever Tomar had presented to him initially was wrong, which misled him into believing that the former Law Minister had done no wrong.
“I had asked for a written explanation from Tomar when the issue first surfaced. He had shown me certain documents which we had believed,” he said.
On the VAT hike on petrol and diesel, Kejriwal referred to the meeting of Finance Ministers of Northern states and said it was a “praiseworthy step” taken to bring uniformity.
“Rates have been increased in SAD ruled Punjab and BJP-ruled Haryana to bring the rates to the level of Uttar Pradesh. This will put an end to VAT theft. I admit that it will put slight burden on people of Delhi,” he said.