The Delhi government seems to have been preparing its case against IAS officer Shakuntala D Gamlin much before the controversy over her appointment as acting chief secretary erupted.
Power minister Satyendar Jain had prepared a detailed note, which was leaked to the media on Saturday and was sent to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on May 9, over her alleged link with power companies and had even sought her removal as principal secretary (power).
“I wish to place on record the suspicion inviting actions of Shakuntala D Gamlin. Before the AAP government was formed in Delhi, she was appointed as principal secretary (power) by the lieutenant governor. Since the AAP government took over, she has been aggressively lobbying within the government to promote the interests of Reliance-owned power companies. Many such instances have come to light,” Jain stated in his letter dated May 9.
The government has cited one instance where she was trying to get a letter of comfort from the government.
“Reliance-owned power companies have applied for a loan of Rs 11,000 crore to Power Finance Corporation (PFC). She has been persistently pestering me to give some kind of guarantee to PFC in favour of Reliance-owned power companies. If the Delhi government were to sign such guarantee, the Delhi government would be liable to repay the loan if the companies defaulted any time in future. Going by her advice, if I had signed the guarantee letter, it would have exposed the people of Delhi to liability of Rs 11,000 crore. If Delhi government were called upon to pay this liability in case of loan default by Reliance in future, the rates in Delhi would have skyrocketed,” the letter states.
Gamlin had, however, brought to the L-G’s notice an unsigned letter purportedly written to the LG by Kejriwal and shown to her by the secretary to the Delhi CM. The same allegations were there in that letter and Gamlin on Friday had informed the LG about it. LG has said that the complaint will be examined as per procedure.
Kejriwal too tweeted about the nexus between politicians, officers and private companies. “My questions to Delhiites - should a person perceived to be very close to power companies be made CS of Delhi? Should elected CM have no say in selection? All over the country, huge nexus between politicians, officers and companies and in Delhi we are trying to break that nexus. That’s why whole system opposing,” Kejriwal tweeted on Saturday evening.
'MHA has nothing to do with row'
The Union home ministry has steered clear of the controversy over appointment of senior IAS officer Shakuntala Gamlin as Delhi’s acting chief secretary, saying it has nothing to do with it. “The home ministry has nothing to do with it,” Union home secretary LC Goyal said.
(With PTI inputs)
Read: Defying Delhi govt's order, Shakuntala Gamlin takes charge as chief secretary