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Anti-graft branch can’t probe central staff on Delhi orders

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said anyone residing in Delhi came under the anti-graft body.

Written by Pragya Kaushika , Aneesha Mathur | New Delhi | Published: August 5, 2016 4:09:59 am
 delhi, delhi news, aap government, delhi government, najeeb jung, anti graft branch, delhi ACB, ACB central government probe, delhi high court, delhi hc, mha, indian express news, india news Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal. (Express photo by Ravi Kanojia)

The AAP government’s move to empower the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) to probe central government employees pitted it against the Centre, which said the agency did not have the jurisdiction. The Delhi High Court Thursday accepted the Centre’s contention.

The AAP government has been aggressive in pitching for wide-ranging jurisdiction for ACB. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said anyone residing in Delhi came under the anti-graft body. The AAP government had directed the ACB to register an FIR into an alleged “scam” involving favour by central government in pricing of gas. On July 23, 2014, the MHA issued a notification directing the ACB to not register cases relating to central government officials, as it did not have jurisdiction. The case slowed down, but the issue was revived after the AAP came back in power in 2015.

The MHA issued a second notification on May 21, 2015, bringing the ACB under control of the LG, and directing that the agency did not have any jurisdiction to investigate central government officials. The AAP government challenged both notifications before the HC.

While the cases were being heard in the court, the Delhi government started appointing officials from other states. When the Centre, through LG, appointed M K Meena as the chief, the AAP objected to his appointment, and approached HC. The force then got “divided” in two — Meena versus S S Yadav, an official brought in by AAP government, said sources. The government only acknowledged Yadav’s authority and bypassed Meena by sending files directly to Yadav, the sources added.

After Yadav was transferred, the AAP government launched an independent helpline number to register corruption cases. Kejriwal also wrote to the PM, alleging Delhi government’s power had been usurped by the LG.

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