In a scathing diatribe against Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday asked him to review his “questionable” decision to appoint Shakuntala Gamlin as acting Chief Secretary of Delhi and work within the “confines” of the Constitution.
“I am simply aghast by your questionable instructions issued directly to the Pr. Secretary (Services) to post an officer of your choice as the acting Chief Secretary of Delhi. In doing so, you have bypassed the democratically elected government,” Kejriwal said in a strongly worded letter to Jung hours after Gamlin took charge of the post, defying the Chief Minister.
“I would strongly request and urge you to remain within the confines of the Constitution and the laws relating to government of NCT of Delhi,” he said.
In the letter, he pointed to several rules of Transaction of Business Rules, saying “I cannot but conclude that This is a thinly disguised attempt to render the democratically elected govt “ineffective”.
“You (L-G) are holding a constitutional post. Whatever be the political pressures, you have a duty to uphold the constitution,” the Delhi Chief Minister said. “May I request to kindly cite the relevant Article of Constitution of India, or the provision of Government of NCT of Delhi Act, or Transaction of Business Rules, which gives you such extraordinary powers to bypass and attempt to render the democratically elected government ineffective and directly run the government through the Secretaries to the Government,” he said in his letter.
The Delhi CM drew the LG’s attention to Article 293AA (4) of the Constitution which lays down the process by which a difference of opinion between the Lt Governor and ministers is to be resolved.
“I would like to point to Rule 52 of Transaction of Business Rules ibid; which states that the Lieutenant Governor’s direction can only be given to a Minister.
“The provision is consistent with the principal and Rule 4 (2) of Transaction of Business Rule which says ‘Without prejudice to provision of sub-rule (1), the Minister in charge of a department shall be primarily responsible for the disposal of the business pertaining to that department.”
“In this context, if any communication was at all required, the L-G should have written to the Deputy Chief Minister, who is minister in charge of Services Department,” he also said.
Meanwhile, Power Minister Satyendra Jain’s letter to Kejriwal dated May 5, 2015 today emerged in which he accused Gamlin of lobbying within the government to promote the “interest of Reliance owned Power companies” and uged him to relieve her of the charge of Principal Secretary (Power).
“I wish to place on record the suspicion inviting actions of Shakuntala D. Gamlin. Before AAP Govt was formed in Delhi, she was appointed as
Pr. Secretary (Power) by the Hon’ble Lt Governor.
“Since AAP govt took over, she has been aggressively lobbying within the government to promote the interests of Reliance owned Power Companies. Many such instances have come to light,” Jain said.
“Reliance owned power companies have applied for a loan of Rs 11,000 crore to PFC. She has been persistently pestering me to give some kind of guarantee (comfort letter) to Power Finance Corporation in favour of Reliance owned power companies. If Delhi government were to sign such guarantee, Delhi government would be liable to repay the loan if the companies defaulted any time in future.
“Going by her advice, if I had signed the guarantee letter, it would have exposed the people of Delhi to liability of Rs 11,000 crore. If Delhi government were called upon to pay this liability in case of loan default by Reliance in future, the rates in Delhi would have skyrocketed,” he added.
Gamlin has denied the charges against her.