Delhi Chief Secretary ‘assault’ case: AAP said ration meeting but Food Minister absent

AAP has claimed that the meeting was called to discuss non-disbursal of rations “due to faulty implementation of Aadhaar”. But Delhi Food and Civil Supplies Minister Imran Hussain was not present at the meeting on Monday night.

Written by Aniruddha Ghosal | New Delhi | Updated: February 21, 2018 7:45:55 am
Delhi crisis, Delhi chief secretary, Delhi secretariat assault case, Chief Secretary slapped, Aam Aadmi Party, CM Arvind kejriwal, AAP, Ankush prakash Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. The AAP government in Delhi claimed Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash was called to discuss “non-disbursal of rations” at fair price shops. (File Photo)

The Delhi government has claimed that Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash was called to discuss “non-disbursal of rations” at fair price shops. But Delhi Food and Civil Supplies Minister Imran Hussain was not present at the meeting on Monday night.

Confirming this, a government spokesperson said, “He (Hussain) wasn’t there for the meeting. But he didn’t need to be there. This issue has been going on for a few months now and the minister is aware of the issues at hand. The entire matter has cleared different departments, but was stuck at the Chief Secretary’s office.”

According to Prakash, “around 11 MLAs/ persons were present” at the meeting.

Read | AAP, bureaucracy tussle not new, but ties hit a new low

The government spokesperson said MLAs often turn up at the CM’s residence to discuss the problems they are facing in their constituencies. “The minister wasn’t asked to come, and neither was any other official, since the issue pertained only to the chief secretary,” said an official.

Hussain, who was allegedly assaulted by protesting staff at the Delhi Secretariat in the afternoon, refused to comment on his absence at the meeting.

Read | Crisis in Delhi: Chief Secy alleges assault by AAP MLAs at midnight meeting, party files complaint against him

There are two narratives about the purpose of the meeting. Prakash has claimed that the meeting pertained to an advertisement featuring Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal — to mark the government’s three-year anniversary — which was “blocked” by officials.

In his complaint, Prakash has alleged that he was “informed on the telephone around 8:45 pm” on Monday that he would “have to reach CM’s residence at 12 midnight” to discuss the issue. “I suggested that the meeting could be held on 20.02.2018 in the morning. However it was reiterated… that the meeting has been scheduled by CM at 12 midnight,” he has said.

However, AAP has claimed that the meeting was called to discuss non-disbursal of rations “due to faulty implementation of Aadhaar”. “Why will we discuss the advertisement issue a week after the anniversary, when we can’t even give the advertisement now,” said AAP leader Atishi Marlena.

Meanwhile, both the Opposition as well as bureaucrats pointed out that the timing of the meeting was rather unusual.

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