In what is expected to trigger another confrontation between the Delhi government and the Lieutenant Governor, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has cancelled the government probe into the CNG fitness scam. Lt-Governor Najeeb Jung on Friday relayed directions to the Delhi government that the probe was “legally invalid and void ab initio”.
Jung had sought the Centre’s opinion on whether the Delhi government has the power to set up the commission without seeking his approval first. On August 11, the AAP government had decided to constitute an independent Commission of Inquiry to probe various aspects of the award of work in connection with the scam in the transport department.
“The MHA terms the commission of inquiry constituted by the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) as legally invalid and void ab initio,” reads a statement issued by the office of the Lieutenant Governor.
A senior official said the decision communicated to the Lt-Governor by the MHA — after his office sought the ministry’s advice on the government’s decision to set up the commission — categorically made it clear that the government has no authority to constitute any such inquiry.
“It has been clarified that the GNCTD is not the competent authority to set up such an inquiry under various provisions of the Constitution and the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952. The notification issued by the GNCTD has, therefore, been declared legally invalid…,”stated the communication by the MHA.
It added, “It is further clarified that on the orders of the Lt-Governor, the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) is looking into the entire matter afresh. Notices have been issued by the ACB to all concerned, including government officers named in the original complaint. The ACB has been asked to complete the investigation on priority” .
The Delhi government, however, said it has not received any official communication and the matter was already in court.
The government had ordered the ACB to open the 2002 CNG fitness scam case in June. It also put the Lt-Governor in the dock for refusing to prosecute three top officials. Officials pointed out that the CBI, in its report, stated that the power to grant sanction to prosecute is with the MHA and the Lt-Governor should have referred the matter to the ministry and not declined sanction for prosecution. Sources said the government would write to the President or the MHA directly.