AAP and its convener Arvind Kejriwal want to win MCD elections to prove that they are the numero uno forces in Delhi and can challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP.
AAP and its convener Arvind Kejriwal want to win MCD elections to prove that they are the numero uno forces in Delhi and can challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP. Bit in a jolt to the party and Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal ahead of civic bodies polls, the three-member Shangulu committee, formed by former Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, has pointed out “gross abuse of power” by the AAP government in its report. The report has alleged irregularities in the allotment of lands by Arvind Kejriwal-led government while alleging that party allotted residential house to its minister under guise of office accommodation. This is a major setback and it will be interesting to see how Kejriwal and his party mange to handle the criticism that is likely to come from BJP. AAP has always claimed that it is a party that takes stand against corruption. This comes at the time when CM Kejriwal has found himself in the midst of controversy over defamation billing row. Earlier Jung had said that Kejriwal may face ‘criminal charges’ over irregularities found by the panel.
Here are the top developments
1. 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”. The report observes that the genesis of the conflict lay in an April 2015 order issued by Kejriwal to all the departments.
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2. The committee in its above 100-page report, raised questions on the allotment of 206, Rouse Avenue – a minister’s bungalow used as party office – to AAP. “Allotment of 206, Rouse Avenue, known as Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg (Ministers residences), to AAP. On 08.10.2015 Chief Secretary circulated a decision of the Cabinet approving allotment of land to political parties for construction of offices. The Cabinet “feels that there is an elected Government in National Capital Territory of Delhi and it has the prerogative to frame its own guidelines to allot land, to the political parties having their representation in Delhi Legislative Assembly…..”. Since Land is a reserved subject this decision should be deemed null and void. It is clear that this decision to allot land to political parties was really to validate allotment of government accommodation to AAP,” the report read.
3. It 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.
4. 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 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.
5. 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.
Shunglu Committee, headed by former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) V.K. Shunglu, was formed by Jung after Delhi High Court gave primacy to the LG in Delhi administrative affairs in August last year, a report said.
(With agency inputs)