The AAP lashed out at the Centre Tuesday after orders were issued a day earlier for the transfer of Delhi chief secretary M M Kutty to the Department of Economic Affairs under the Finance Ministry. The order effectively means that four top bureaucrats being questioned by the Delhi Assembly House committees in separate cases of alleged irregularities have been transferred out of Delhi government this month.
Though none of the transfers are out of turn, the AAP alleged it was an effort by the Centre to “shield” the officers from “legislative scrutiny”.
On November 3, orders were issued to transfer PWD principal secretary and 1992-batch IAS officer Ashwani Kumar, and 1996-batch IAS officer A Anbarasu, to Puducherry. On November 20, Delhi environment secretary Keshav Chandra, a 1995-batch IAS officer, was transferred to the Department of Commerce as the Joint Secretary (logistics). On Monday, orders were issued for the transfer of Kutty to the Department of Economic Affairs as Additional Secretary.
Saurabh Bhardwaj, the AAP spokesperson who is on two of the House committees, alleged, “All officers who were being questioned by House committees have been transferred out. We will still send notices to these officers and summon them, but with the transfers, there will be a loss of accountability. This is an effort by the Centre to scuttle the Assembly’s probe and shield officers from legislative scrutiny.”
The AAP has often claimed that the Centre and Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal are attempting to destabilise the elected government through bureaucrats.
Kutty is slated to appear before the Delhi Assembly’s Question and Reference Committee on November 30, regarding an ongoing probe into alleged illegal appointments and promotions in a Delhi cooperative bank. He had approached the Delhi High Court seeking protection from adverse orders of the committee, and had told the court that the tussle between the L-G and the government was akin to being “caught between devil and the deep sea”.
Anbarasu, the services secretary, was also supposed to be questioned by the committee over the same issue. Kutty has also been appearing before the Petitions Committee regarding a probe into alleged non-disbursal of scholarships to SC, ST and minorities for almost two years, and the Committee of Petitions for alleged irregularities by the PWD in the desilting of drains.
Chandra was summoned by the Privilege Committee in July for alleged irregularities in the tendering process of 14 sewage treatment plants along the Yamuna.
In June, the Petitions Committee had alleged “fraudulent payments made to contractors” for cleaning of drains by the PWD, and had recommended that Kumar be divested of charges of PWD and Vigilance.
Kumar had also received criticism from Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, and had hit back saying: “We know our job… If he has a solution, he can tell me and the department.”