Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung Friday said the 400 files of the Delhi government being examined by a three-member committee constituted by him, show “grave misdemeanours”, and “are in the process of being referred to the CBI for investigation”.
The statement came hours after the Delhi cabinet, for the second time, resolved to call the committee unconstitutional. In response, the LG’s office issued a point-by-point rebuttal of the cabinet resolution against the committee.
The Cabinet Friday decided to “advise” the LG to dissolve the probe panel due to lack of “provision in the constitution” of setting up such an “external” committee. Reacting to the statement issued by the government, the Lt Governor in his statement said, “The truth hidden behind the 400-odd files must come out and be brought into public domain. If everything, as claimed, is as per rules, then why is the elected government afraid of the truth coming out?”
The government alleged that the committee has instilled fear among officials. “It is threatening to derail the functioning of the government. Several officers have reported to ministers that they were summoned and grilled by the committee for decisions they took. Such summoning of officers through oral instructions and then questioning them over the content of the files without duly recording and authenticating the officers’ version is against the well-established norms of transparency and propriety,” noted the cabinet.
The Lt Governor, however, rebutted the claim and said the officers had been called only for clarifications. “It is strange that ministers who have misbehaved consistently with officers for past 18 months should now attempt to hide behind the same officers,” he said.
Jung’s office also said the cabinet resolution is an attempt to take attention away from “grave misdemeanours” that are evident in some of the files. “Some misdemeanours are of the gravity that these matters are in the process of being referred to the CBI for investigation,” stated Jung.
The LG’s office also stated that files that have been sent have not been summoned or impounded by the LG office but have been sent by the ministers themselves, against the claims made in the cabinet note.
“These are files where the elected government has admitted it has not followed constitutional provisions and transgressed established rules, laws and conventions,” said the statement issued by the Jung’s office.
The Cabinet, meanwhile, noted that there is no rule which empowers setting up of an external committee and alleged that the committee is inquiring into the ongoing projects of public welfare, questioning officers and threatening to recommend criminal and administrative action against them. It also requested the Lt Governor to return the files “immediately before unmitigated loss happens to welfare schemes”.
The cabinet also alleged that the committee has the potential of creating a serious constitutional crisis in the national capital. It also asked the Lt Governor to wait for the Supreme Court’s hearing in the matter.
“The Cabinet has advised the Lt Governor that wherever he has a difference of opinion with any minister, in respect of a decision taken by him, the council recognises his prerogative to call the minister for discussion with an endeavour to resolve such difference under Rule 49 of the Transaction of Business Rules,” stated the note issued by the government. Jung’s office reiterated that no file that is as per rules has been held back.
The LG’s office added that dragging the Supreme Court into a press release of the government is “unfortunate” as it has nothing to do with the committee.