With the endless battle for power between the ruling AAP government and Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung showing no signs of abetting, Delhi’s bureaucrats seem to be the ones caught in the crossfire.
The government has now accused Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung of threatening bureaucrats with “dire consequences” if they refuse to be party to “the exercise of obstructing the functioning of the Delhi government.”
To “protect” bureaucrats from political victimisation, the Delhi Cabinet on Friday decided to set up a Group of Ministers (GoM), chaired by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and comprising Health Minister Satyendar Jain and Transport Minister Gopal Rai.
In a statement, the government said: “The cabinet took a serious view of the fact that several senior officers of Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) have informed the government that they had been summoned by Hon’ble LG and were threatened of dire consequences (including police action and/or disciplinary proceedings by instituting bogus inquiries against them) if they refuse to partake in the exercise of obstructing the functioning of Delhi government”.
The government alleged that the officers were told to paralyse the functioning of the AAP government by making “adverse and obstructionist” file notings against its decisions. The “intimidating and coercive tactics” of the Lt Governor has intensified over the last one month, claimed the government.
Terming the allegations “completely false and malicious”, the Lt Governor’s office hit back by accusing the AAP government of ill-treating its bureaucrats. “In view of the background of several episodes of poor treatment meted out by the elected government to the chief secretary, the principal secretaries… and others, the Lt Governor’s Secretariat does not wish to comment on this issue,” stated Jung’s office.
At the centre of the most recent tussle is the transfer of VAT commissioner Vijay Kumar. The Delhi government has alleged that the decision to transfer Kumar was “sudden, abrupt and unexplained”. Kumar was transferred after he conducted a raid in which 200 fraudulent companies were unearthed, claimed the government.
“Why was he (Kumar) suddenly relieved by Hon’ble LG keeping the chief minister also in dark? This is not a transfer. This is shunting out of an officer who was fighting against corruption and against deeply entrenched vested interests,” said the AAP government.
Jung’s office, however, pointed out that Kumar was among five officers who had received transfer orders months ago, but had not been relieved by the Delhi government. The Lt Governor’s secretariat had received orders from the MHA on October 9 to relieve these officers and it had, accordingly, issued the orders on October 12.
In fact, Jung had approved more than 60 proposals for appointments sent to him by the chief minister, following due procedure, said sources.
While the AAP government had proposed the name of Southwest District Magistrate Ankur Garg as Kumar’s successor, Jung’s office had shot it down, saying the officer was not senior enough for the post. “If they don’t propose the name of an appropriate officer, what can the Lt Governor do,” said a source.