The Delhi Assembly on Thursday set up a special panel to investigate the alleged irregularities by lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung’s office while restoring the licence of a ration shop. The shop’s licence was revoked by the Delhi government’s food and supplies department.
The House adopted a motion moved by AAP legislator Saurabh Bharadwaj to form a nine-member panel after Burari MLA Sanjeev Jha raised the issue and pleaded with the assembly to take a serious view of the matter. He said it was a fit case to be considered under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Jha said the ration shop owner claimed she had paid R12.5 lakh to get the licence restored. “The L-G misused his office and circumvented rules to set aside the decision of the state government,” he said.
“Allegations against L-G are v serious. Enquiry committee set up by Delhi Assembly will find the truth. I urge all to cooperate in enquiry (sic),” chief minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted.
The matter relates to an order passed by the L-G on April 13, in which Jung as an appellate authority revoked the food and supplies department’s order cancelling the licence of the fair price shop in Burari.
The L-G office clarified that the order was passed as it was a case of appeal under clause 6 (8) of the Delhi Specified Articles (Regulation of Distribution) Order 1981.
Jung dismissed the allegations by quoting a couplet by Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar: “Umr-e-daraaz maang kar laaye they chaar din/ do arzoo mein kat gaye aur do ikhtalaf mein”.
“On an appeal filed by the aggrieved widow shopowner, (the) Lt. governor as an appellate authority, after hearing all sides, including the department of food supplies & consumer affairs, has passed a considered and detailed order, based on facts placed before him in his court, setting aside the cancellation of the licence of the fair price shop and restoring the licence to the widow,” a statement from the L-G office said.
The Burari legislator, however, said the L-G had circumvented rules besides failing to follow the principle of natural justice as he passed the order without giving a chance to the stakeholders an opportunity to defend themselves.
The AAP legislator said criminal proceedings should be initiated against the L-G under the Prevention of Corruption Act. “Case must be initiated under section 420, 409 and 120 (B) of the Indian Penal Code,” he said.
The terms of reference set for the special inquiry committee includes looking into the procedure adopted by the authorities concerned in cancelling the licence of the ration shop. It will look into the veracity of the restoration of the cancelled licence as ordered by Delhi L-G and examine whether there was a mala fide intent.
The committee included BJP legislator Jagdish Pradhan but he was later replaced by AAP MLA Bhavna Gaur after the two BJP legislators, Pradhan and Vijender Gupta, opposed the formation of the committee.
“The committee is politically motivated. We oppose the move,” Gupta, the leader of the opposition, said. Earlier, a motion on alleged corruption in notifying aap-based bus aggregator policy by Gupta was turned down by the Speaker.