Ask your ministers not to make assertions, Delhi LG tells CM after being accused of 'favouring' BJP

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 28-06-2022 21:21 IST | Created: 28-06-2022 21:21 IST
Ask your ministers not to make assertions, Delhi LG tells CM after being accused of 'favouring' BJP
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In a sign of brewing tussle, Delhi Lt Governor V K Saxena on Tuesday wrote to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal refuting his deputy Manish Sisodia's charge of favouring the BJP and urged him to advice his ministers against making ''misleading'' assertions.

Saxena was reacting to a letter by the deputy chief minister wherein he accused the LG of ''bulldozing the law'' to favour the BJP in connection with allowing the Anti Corruption Branch to probe the alleged irregularities in the construction of seven temporary hospitals during the Covid pandemic.

According to Delhi government sources, granting permission for enquiry under the Prevention of Corruption Act does not fall under the purview of “services” and is within the jurisdiction of elected government. ''It is both sad and surprising to note that vide the above letter, the deputy chief minister has made factually and legally incorrect statements on the subject matter while unnecessarily politicising a desirable administrative action,'' Saxena wrote in the letter to Kejriwal.

He reminded the chief minister of their agreement over ''zero tolerance'' against corruption, that was reached during their meetings every Friday, and sough his cooperation in doing so.

''In the interest of good governance, I would further urge you to advise your ministers to refrain from such unproductive and poorly evidenced assertions, which are both misleading and obstructive in nature,'' he wrote.

Sisodia had asked under whose ''pressure'' Saxena had approved investigation by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) over a year old complaint when it was rejected by his predecessor Anil Baijal as ''frivolous and baseless''.

The Lieutenant Governor said the ACB is yet to probe the alleged irregularities in the matter and the case was never closed as claimed by Sisodia.

''The assertion of Deputy Chief Minister that the matter was closed by my predecessor after conducting thorough inquiry appears strange. The notings in the file bear out the fact that the case was never closed,'' he said.

''Needless to mention that such unverified claims and assertions by Hon’ble Deputy CM are unwarranted and appear to be an attempt to mislead the general public on this issue,'' he said.

Saxena also explained the legal position of his authority vis-a-vis the charges made against him by Sisodia in his letter as well as a press conference.

The Delhi High Court in its judgement on August 4, 2016 has held that according to the constitutional scheme of governance of Delhi, the ''services'' fall outside the purview of the Legislative Assembly of Delhi, he said.

''This judgement still holds the field as the civil appeal filed by the elected government on this issue is yet to be heard by the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court,'' Saxena pointed.

The permission for conducting enquiry into the complaint of corruption against officials of Public Works Department (PWD) has been granted after careful examination and strictly in accordance with the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and the provisions of law as settled by the courts, he stated.

Sources in the Delhi government said the Prevention of Corruption Act gives a maximum of four months to any government to give permission for enquiry.

The fact that previous Lieutenant Governor Baijal neither gave any permission nor sought advice of elected govt in those four months indicates that he did not find any merit in the complaint, they said.

For the present Lieutenant Governor to accuse his predecessor of sitting on such important file and not taking a decision within prescribed time limit is unfortunate and uncalled for, they said.

Baijal was aware of his statutory duties. His silence on the file indicates that he prima facie did not find any merit in the complaint. The Lieutenant Governor's office receives thousands of such frivolous complaints everyday but the Lieutenant Governor acts on serious complaints, they said.

The fact that the previous Lieutenant Governor did not act on it within the prescribed time limit of four months shows that he did not find it serious enough to act, the sources said. A complaint over alleged irregularities in the construction of temporary hospitals by the PWD was lodged by BJP MP Manoj Tiwari. In the past few weeks, since Saxena took oath as Lt Governor of Delhi in May, he has faced criticism by the ruling AAP which has accused him of ''interfering'' in Delhi government's work.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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