‘Gross abuse of power’ by AAP govt, says LG-appointed panel

RSTV Bureau
New Delhio: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addressing a press conference in New Delhi on April 3, 2017. PTI Photo

FILE: New Delhi: File photo of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addressing a press conference in New Delhi with Dy CM Manish Sisodia. Photo – PTI

In a major jolt for Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the three-member Shangulu committee, formed by the then Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, has pointed out “gross abuse of power” by the Delhi government in its report.

The committee has flagged decisions including the allotment of land to the AAP for its party office, appointment of Minister Satyendra Jain’s daughter as “mission director” of Delhi State Health Mission and a number of purported AAP functionaries as “advisors”.

In a scathing indictment of Kejriwal government, the panel said the decision to allot land to the AAP to build a party office should be considered “null and void” and also questioned the allotment of residence to DCW Chairperson Swati Maliwal.

The report observes that the genesis of the conflict lay in an April 2015 order issued by Kejriwal to all the departments, which directed officers to take decisions without consulting the Lt Governor on all subjects that have been transferred to the Delhi Assembly under Article 239AA(3)a of the Indian Constitution.

The report which runs into over 100 pages deals with decisions, including appointment of certain individuals as advisors to the government, taken by Kejriwal and his Cabinet where it had no authority do so and without the LG’s concurrence.

“In pursuance of the directions of the CM in April 2015, it became the practice among ministers not to obtain the approval of the LG and to provide approval at their level,” it said.

Among other issues, the report raised questions on the government posting officers to the Anti Corruption Branch, its decisions on transfer and appointments of officers, foreign travel undertaken by ministers without the LG’s sanction and appointment of lawyers.

Earlier Jung had said that Kejriwal may face “criminal charges” over irregularities found by the panel.

(With inputs from PTI)