Kejriwal looks set for confrontation with Centre over anti-graft steps | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Kejriwal looks set for confrontation with Centre over anti-graft steps

As Arvind Kejriwal settles down in the chief minister’s chair over the next few weeks, his government will be gearing up for its first confrontation with the Centre over the jurisdiction of the proposed jan lokpal and the city’s anti-corruption branch.

delhi Updated: Feb 11, 2015 12:18 IST
Aloke Tikku
Delhi vote counting
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As Arvind Kejriwal settles down in the chief minister’s chair over the next few weeks, his government will be gearing up for its first confrontation with the Centre over the jurisdiction of the proposed jan lokpal and the city’s anti-corruption branch.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had tried to enact the jan lokpal bill and breathe life into the moribund anti-corruption wing during its brief stint last year. The tussle that followed with the Centre led to Kejriwal quitting after 49 days in power.

But one of the early decisions of the Modi government in July last year was to strip the city’s anti-corruption branch – which reports to the chief minister – of its power to probe central agencies such as the Delhi Police, Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and the municipal corporations, considered the hotbed of corruption. The AAP had reacted strongly, accusing the Centre of making “a complete mockery of the anti-corruption mechanism in Delhi”.

This time too the Capital is set to witness a tug-of-war with the Centre likely to insist on similarly truncated powers for the jan lokpal. For a party born after the 2012 anti-corruption movement, there is no way Kejriwal will let the Centre’s decision go unchallenged, said an AAP leader. “These departments are the hotbed of corruption,” the leader said.

He, however, added that the tone of confrontation would be different this time. “We have the numbers and time on our side,” he said, adding that the party would use its “moral and political authority” to push for full statehood for the Capital.

An anti-corruption branch officer, meanwhile, conceded that after Centre’s order last year, there was confusion on the powers of the department.

According to the officer, bribery complaints are forwarded to the agency concerned for action, “but we have sought a clarification from the government”.