After FIR rush in previous stint, AAP 2.0 goes soft on corruption

  • Prawesh Lama, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 18, 2015 23:46 IST

In the Aam Aadmi Party’s previous tenure of 49 days, the Delhi government’s Anti-Corruption Branch had booked government and police officials and prominent people, including Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani and former Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit.

This time however, in the first 30 days of AAP government, the branch is yet to register an FIR.

Officials at the ACB headquarters in Civil Lines said the chief minister’s approach this year has come as a shock to them. FIRs haven’t been filed and even files related to the application for filling up the vacancies of 12 inspectors have not moved.

Sources said a proposal regarding the transfer of 12 Delhi Police inspectors was submitted in the first few days and mentioned in a presentation the ACB chief gave to the new government.

An officer said compared to last year — when the AAP government had widely advertised the ACB helpline and urged people to approach them if any government officer sought bribes — this time not a single advertisement has been released.

“The Delhi Police has publicised their vigilance helpline and WhatsApp number through FM channels. Last year, the FM radio channels were flooded by the anti-corruption helpline ads and the chief minister’s message asking people to approach it. But this time we have not released any advertisement,” an officer said.

Also gathering dust at the Delhi Secretariat are files related to the sanction of vehicles and laptops for investigating officers. In the oath-taking ceremony at Ramlila grounds, Kejriwal had promised to restart the helpline he had launched last year. Thirty-four days later, the promise is yet to be fulfilled.

A case related to the smuggling of liquor involving government officers had been registered on the day the new government came to power. But sources said the inspectors had been working on this case, long before Kejriwal took charge.

There had been a tussle between the Centre and the Delhi government over the jurisdiction of the anti-corruption branch after FIRs were filed against Ambani and then petroleum minister Deora in the gas pricing issue.

The union government had then claimed that a state government cannot investigate matters on the Centre’s list.

Soon after taking over this time, chief minister Kejriwal had met Union home minister Rajnath Singh about restoring powers of the ACB and the transfer of former AIIMS CVO Sanjiv Chaturvedi.

Even as the Centre is yet to take a final decision on transferring Chaturvedi — who is currently working with the union ministry of environment and forest — Kejriwal had been picking up officers from other states.

Kapil Singh, city magistrate of Ghaziabad and Praveen Mishra, ADM of Moradabad — both picked by Kejriwal himself — joined the Delhi government on Tuesday. Both of them are likely to be assigned to the anti-corruption body under the deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia.

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