Over two weeks after Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia urged Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung not to transfer two senior officials in the AAP government, the latter issued transfer orders for them Tuesday.
The two non-IAS officials — PWD secretary Sarvagya Srivastava and Health Secretary Tarun Seem — were working on IAS-cadre posts. While 1992-batch IAS officer Ashwani Kumar will replace Sarvagya Srivastava, Environment Secretary Chandraker Bharti will be given additional charge as secretary, health department.
A few days ago, Sisodia had sought action against Bharti over the delay in issuing the draft notification banning Chinese manjha in the national capital.
Jung also ordered the transfer of several other senior officials.
The services department has also issued orders relieving Prasanna Kumar Suryadevara from the post of secretary, Delhi Assembly, and repatriating him to parent cadre AIR. Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel had written to AIR earlier, requesting that Suryadevara be allowed to continue in his post.
Targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the transfers, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, “Today, several officers transferred by LG directly. Files not even shown to CM or any minister. Is this Modi model of democracy?… Manish Sisodia requested LG not to transfer these two officers looking after works of setting mohalla clinics and new schools till March 31, but he (LG) did not relent.”
A furious Sisodia alleged that the transfers were ordered on the directions of the Prime Minister and claimed the PM was “dangerous for the country.”
Health Minister Satyendar Jain said, “PWD and health departments are doing good work… the PWD is constructing classrooms in schools… Sisodia had told Jung about this. The Lt Governor is hell bent on hampering the AAP government’s work. We couldn’t do anything but request him not to transfer them, and we did that.”
In another order, Jung has created approving authorities for transfer and postings of officers of IAS, DANICS and DASS cadres and principal private secretaries, suspending all previous orders of the AAP government.
In the order, Jung said the LG will be the approving authority for transfer and postings of IAS, DANICS, All India Service Officers, and equivalent officers of central civil services. But for DASS Grade I/II officials, principal private secretary, senior personal assistant, the chief secretary will be the approving authority.
In a starred note at the end, the order stated, “The Lt Governor may, in his discretion, obtain the views of CM whenever he deems it appropriate.”
In a statement, the LG’s office said the appointments by the AAP government were “illegal” and in the last year-and-a-half, the government had carried out over 300 transfers of IAS/DANICS officers.
The LG’s office claimed it had sought corrective measures, which were never taken.
Sisodia said the government will approach the Supreme Court against the High Court order that gave administrative power of the services department to the Lt Governor. “…Our sources said the PM had called the LG to get the work stopped in health and education departments…”, he added.