The ongoing power struggle between Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung and chief minister Arvind Kejriwal intensified on Tuesday after reports emerged about the AAP government appointing police officials from Bihar in Delhi’s anti-corruption bureau (ACB).
In a terse press note, Jung made it clear that the ACB “functions under the authority, control and supervision of the Lt Governor” and that he had not received any proposal from the Kejriwal government for deputation of officials from “outside Delhi police”.
Jung’s rebuttal came in response to media reports which said that at least six officers from Bihar have already joined the Delhi ACB though they are yet to be assigned responsibilities.
The development comes in the midst of a high-octane power tussle between Jung – the Centre’s representative in the city-state – and Kejriwal which erupted last month after the Lt Governor appointed senior IAS officer Shakuntala Doley-Gamlin as the acting chief secretary despite the chief minister’s objections. The appointment was for just 10 days.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government, which took over the reins of Delhi earlier this year with a resounding mandate, denounced the appointment as a move by the Centre to rule Delhi through proxy.
The home ministry later issued a notification giving a free hand to Jung on matters of bureaucratic transfers.
In his press note on Tuesday, the Lt Governor pointed out the home ministry notification to justify his stand on the ACB postings.
“The office of the Lt Governor has so far not received any proposal for the deputation of such personnel from outside Delhi police. The matter will be duly examined as and when the Lt Governor receives the formal proposal from the vigilance department of Delhi government,” the press note said.
The tense relationship between the Centre and the AAP government came under more strain last week after reports that the Kejriwal government is planning to procure sophisticated snooping equipment.
The opposition BJP in Delhi on Tuesday slammed Kejriwal for “hiring” police officers from Bihar, noting that such a decision cannot be made without the home ministry’s sanction.
“I feel that Arvind Kejriwal and his party, instead of working for the development of the city, have gotten into the habit of finding new controversies every day. Right now, the courts are still deliberating on under whose jurisdiction the anti corruption bureau shall come. Has he kept the home ministry or the L-G in confidence while making the decision?” BJP leader Harish Khurana said.
Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi said that the Delhi government’s decision is a classic case of “plague on all three houses.”
“There has been enormous failure of the central government, L-G and state government. Each is escalating tension, standing on ego and there is no solution in sight. The voiceless, faceless victim is (the) Delhi citizen,” Singhvi told ANI.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government quickly denounced Gamlin’s appointment as a move by the Centre to rule Delhi through proxy.
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.