Delhi Chief Secretary M M Kutty, who has been in conflict with the AAP government, was appointed Additional Secretary in the Union Finance Ministry on Tuesday. Over this issue, Arvind Kejriwal led AAP took on Centre after the orders were issued a day earlier for the transfer. The order also means that four bureaucrats who were being questioned by the Delhi Assembly House committees in separate cases of alleged irregularities have been transferred out of Delhi government this month. The AAP alleged that it was an effort by the Centre to “shield” the officers from “legislative scrutiny”.
On November 3, PWD principal secretary and 1992-batch IAS officer Ashwani Kumar, and 1996-batch IAS officer A Anbarasu, were transferred to Puducherry. On November 20, Delhi environment secretary Keshav Chandra, a 1995-batch IAS officer, was transferred to the Department of Commerce as the Joint Secretary (logistics). On Monday, orders were issued for the transfer of Kutty to the Department of Economic Affairs as Additional Secretary.
AAP’s spokesperson, Saurabh Bhardwaj said quoting The Indian Express, “All officers who were being questioned by House committees have been transferred out. We will still send notices to these officers and summon them, but with the transfers, there will be a loss of accountability. This is an effort by the Centre to scuttle the Assembly’s probe and shield officers from legislative scrutiny.”
There have been instances of difference of opinion between Kejriwal and Kutty on various matters, including the Delhi Metro fare hike. The AAP government had accused Kutty of not complying with Kejriwal’s order to examine issues related to the recent metro fare hike, claiming that he was allegedly acting on the BJP’s behest. Last month too, the chief minister had sought an explanation from Kutty over his absence from Lal Bahadur Shastri’s birth anniversary event organised by the AAP government.
Kutty is slated to appear before the Delhi Assembly’s Question and Reference Committee on November 30, regarding an ongoing probe into alleged illegal appointments and promotions in a Delhi cooperative bank. He had approached the Delhi High Court seeking protection from adverse orders of the committee, and had told the court that the tussle between the L-G and the government was akin to being “caught between devil and the deep sea”.