Delhi government bureaucrats were once again in the firing line of AAP MLAs during the Budget Session on Monday, after the vigilance department “refused” to answer a question asked by an MLA. The question, asked by Timarpur MLA Pankaj Pushkar, was on the year-wise and department-wise details of vigilance cases. Deputy CM Manish Sisodia said officials in the department allegedly said they were not answerable to the elected government in matters pertaining to vigilance, based on a note from the L-G. “This amounts to disrespecting all assemblies and the Parliament,” Sisodia said.
Greater Kailash MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj said the officers should not be paid salaries for their stance, while Speaker Ram Niwas Goel said he should not be pushed to take an extreme position like not signing the Delhi Budget to be presented on March 22. Later, Goel forwarded the matter to the privilege committee of the House. He also asked Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash to provide an answer to Pushkar’s question. “It has perhaps happened for the first time in the history of Indian democracy. It seems the country is under British rule,” he said. Bhardwaj also raised the matter of irregularities in the Delhi Nagrik Sahkari Bank and PWD, matters which have been probed by two assembly panels and action recommended against the officers concerned.
“Till date, no action has been taken against them. These officers dine in posh clubs. They are answerable to the Assembly but they go to the High Court, which gives them respite on half-baked information. The Delhi High Court has no jurisdiction to interfere in such cases,” Bhardwaj said. Since the alleged assault on Prakash on February 20, the bureaucrats have been communicating with the political executive only through written means. They have been demanding an apology from CM Arvind Kejriwal and Sisodia.
The Assembly also asked divisional commissioner Manisha Saxena to appear in the House on Tuesday in connection with her interview to a Hindi daily regarding a purported case of violence in a school. Contrary to Saxena’s claims, Sisodia said no such incident had occurred. Saxena has been at the forefront of a bureaucracy-led agitation against the alleged assault on the chief secretary.