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Centre took away my most potent weapon against graft: Kejriwal

Delhi CM says BJP-led central government hampered his government’s battle against corruption by taking control of ACB

Kejriwal govt anniversary Updated: Feb 12, 2016 12:12 IST
HT Correspondent

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal during an official function in New Delhi last year.(Virendra Singh Gosain/ Hindustan Times)

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has accused the Centre of usurping his powers and said the BJP-led government took away one of his most potent weapons by seizing control of the anti-corruption bureau (ACB).

“…The central government sent paramilitary forces and took control of ACB by posting (IPS officer) Mukesh Meena as its chief. Since then, the ACB is not with us. Though through the vigilance department, we have control over officers of the Delhi government, now we cannot take action against corrupt persons in DDA, corporations and NDMC besides others departments that come under the central government,” Kejriwal said in an interview to The Times of India.

His comment comes in the backdrop a long-running feud between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government and the BJP-led government at the Centre. Kejriwal accuses the Centre of trying to usurp the state government’s powers and of meddling in its affairs through the lieutenant governor.

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The national capital follows a complex governance pattern with key departments such as law and order under the L-G, who reports to the Union home ministry.

Kejriwal said during the 49 days of the first AAP government there was a general consensus that “police and others” had stopped taking bribes.

“We came to power again and the same atmosphere was created in the first four months. The message was that people had stopped taking bribes since we took action through the ACB against over 50 officials. Even if I got an sms, I would get an inquiry done in 24 hours and get ACB to take action,” he said adding that the equation changed once the Centre took control of the anti-graft body on June 8.

Kejriwal, who stormed to power a year ago, hoped that Delhi will be granted full statehood, which has been one of the major demands of his government.

The chief minister said the Centre can keep control over the areas the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), which mainly consists of Lutyens’ Delhi.

“They can keep the NDMC area with them but give us powers over all matters linked to the rest of the Capital. I can assure the people of Delhi that despite the odds, work will not stop.”

Kejriwal also blamed Centre for his government’s confrontations with the police and bureaucrats saying the incidents were the result of politics.

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“If the police commissioner stands up and challenges the CM to a debate, it’s not a bureaucratic statement but a political statement. Obviously, he is not doing it on his own but at the behest of the Centre,” Kejriwal said.