Delhi’s lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung said on Friday the accusation that he was pressuring the AAP government to grant parole to a former Haryana chief minister stemmed from his refusal to drop criminal cases against ruling party leaders.
The Delhi government and Jung have been locked in a bitter war of words — one of many they have had after the Aam Aadmi Party took office early this year — over parole for Om Prakash Chautala, serving time in a corruption case in the city’s high-security Tihar jail.
“It was Delhi home minister Satyendra Kumar Jain who had called on the lieutenant governor on October 21 — at his own request — regarding withdrawal of cases… registered against AAP leaders, including the cases against chief minister and the deputy chief minister,” Ajay Chaudhary, officer on special duty to Jung, told media.
The government, which has been saying the minister was called by Jung, hit back and said Jain had no say in the matter. A screening committee, of which the home minister was not a member, recommended disposal of cases.
“Moreover, such recommendations are ultimately cleared by the judiciary,” an AAP leader said.
The L-G said on Wednesday he had on October 5 rejected a plea filed by Chautala in September.
Accusing Jung of misleading people, the government, which is opposing relief to the former Haryana CM, alleged that the L-G had summoned Jain on October 21, five says after a fresh application was sent in.
Jung’s office said they got the application on Wednesday and the case would be decided on merit. The L-G has the final word in granting parole and can overturn the suggestions of the state government.
Jain had on September 11, too, brought the file related to cases against AAP leaders, Chaudhary said, adding there was no dispatch and receipt entry of the file — mandatory for movement of any official document.
He also denied the charge that Jung was pushing for Chautala’s transfer to Bathinda jail in Punjab. The former Haryana CM is serving a 10-year sentence after being found guilty in a teacher recruitment scam along with his son, Ajay.
The L-G office’s said parole for Chautala was talked about on October 21 but the discussion was restricted to the minister being reminded that the delay in processing the file by his ministry was not reasonable as the convict was 84-year-old with a medical history.
Jain was again told that charges — rioting, deterring public servants from duty, criminal assault and damage to public property —against AAP leaders were serious and couldn’t treated as routine, Chaudhary said.
The allegations against Jain were an attempt to deflect attention from the Chautala case, an AAP spokesperson said, adding the L-G’s office had failed to put on record the procedure being followed since 2008.
Compoundable cases against political leaders or workers could only be withdrawn by the screening committee and not by an executive order. No minister was involved in the process, the spokesperson said.