Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung on Friday turned down a request by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government to dissolve the three-member Shunglu committee and instead increased its tenure by six weeks.
The committee was constituted on August 30 to review all the decisions taken by the AAP government after coming to power last year and was mandated to furnish its report within six weeks initially.
Defending the functioning of the committee, a statement from the L-G secretariat termed a Delhi cabinet resolution — advising the dissolution of the committee —an attempt to “mislead the public and take attention away from grave misdemeanours that are evident in some of the files”.
The Arvind Kejriwal government had earlier advised Jung to dissolve the three-member committee. Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia told reporters on Friday that a decision in this regard was taken at a cabinet meeting chaired by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. A resolution was also passed during the meeting that advised the L-G to return all files as several “important work was stuck due it”.
Terming the committee as “unconstitutional”, Sisodia said there is no provision in the Constitution, or in any statute or rule, which mandates setting up of an “external committee” to seek files and inquire into ongoing projects of public welfare and question officers.
The L-G secretariat said the “truth hidden behind the 400-odd files being scrutinized must come out and be brought into public domain” and the AAP government should not be afraid of the truth coming out “if everything, as claimed, is as per rules”.
“Some misdemeanours are of the gravity that already these matters are in the process of being referred to the CBI for investigation,” the statement said.
Last week, the L-G had dissolved the constitution of the Delhi Wakf Board by the AAP government and had recommended a CBI investigation into allegations of corruption in the board.
Questioning the assertion of the AAP government that the L-G was not authorized to constitute such a committee, the L-G’s office said that setting up of committees is a normal function in the government.
“The committee constitutes former civil servants known for their unimpeachable integrity and competence…the committee is examining the files to establish the extent of malfeasance, if any, that may have been committed,” the statement said.
Refuting allegations that files are being summoned arbitrarily and governance is being affected, the L-G’s office said that the files had been sent to them by the ministers themselves. The officials said that the files they were scrutinizing were the ones that the government believed that constitutional provisions were not followed and established rules, laws and conventions transgressed.
“The government’s claim that its work was adversely impacted is false. Files that affect day to day governance are dealt with immediately and sent back. The committee is examining only files where illegalities may have been committed and have thus been accepted by the ministers themselves by the virtue that they themselves had submitted such files for scrutiny,” the statement said, adding that the L-G’s office had not issued any instructions to stop any work.