Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has accused lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung of snooping on him and his ministers, the latest in a war of words between the two leaders over who controls the appointment of bureaucrats in a city that is a semi-state.
Kejriwal, in a letter to Union home minister Rajnath Singh, urged the Centre — to which Delhi Police reports — to focus on improving Delhi’s law and order situation rather than on officers working with the AAP government.
“Shocking! LG snooping on CM n Ministers. Who visits CM n ministers- LG secretly collecting this info n informing PMO (sic),” tweeted Kejriwal on Tuesday, citing a letter that Jung wrote to the PMO in February.
In his letter, Jung had said the Delhi government appointed non-IAS officers without his knowledge and blamed Kejriwal’s principal secretary Rajendra Kumar for not issuing any circular regarding such postings. Jung’s letter came two months after Rajendra Kumar’s office in the Delhi Secretariat was raided by a CBI team, triggering a row.
“I am informed that there are quite a few instances of serving officers from the Central Services and retired officers from the All India Services being directly engaged by the elected government without the approval of the Lt Governor,” Jung wrote.
Jung pointed out that SK Nagarwal of the Indian railway services of engineers, while on study leave, was found working in the office of Delhi’s home minister. The L-G sought rescinding of Nagarwal’s deputation and demanded a direction to all ministries that such appointments were not made without his office’s approval.
Following L-G’s letter, the home ministry in the last week of May wrote to the Delhi government and sought details of all officers on deputation in the AAP government and a list of consultants employed on a contract basis.
Responding to the home ministry’s missive, Kejriwal instead asked the Centre to share the list of consultants it had appointed in the last two years ‘in the interest of both the governments’.
“You have asked which consultants Delhi government has appointed? I will get its list prepared. But Delhi government wants to know how many consultants has central government appointed in its two years. Please send the full list. Both the governments will benefit from the exchange of this list,” Kejriwal wrote.
In response to the Centre’s request to provide details of officers working at IAS cadre posts, Kejriwal told the home ministry to share a state-wise list of such officers.
“As per my understanding there won’t be more than 2-4 such officers. I am hopeful that you have asked for the same information from Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Chandrababu Naidu, Vasundhra Raje, Devender Fadnavis. What is the situation there?” he said.
L-G office rejects allegations
Sources in the L-G house rejected the CM’s allegations as baseless. They said the L-G was only following protocol.
Sources said the L-G’s office had received documents that an officer was suspended by senior bureaucrat SK Nagarwal, who was on study leave.
“According to service rules, he cannot join any department secretly while claiming that he is on study leave. This is a breach of service rules. Nagarwal is an officer of the Indian Railway Services of Engineers and reports to the Central government as his parent cadre. The L-G had written to the government to inform about the breach of rules by the officer,” said a source in the L-G office.
The source clarified that the L-G did not seek any further details or “snooped on anyone”.
Within our rights: Home ministry
According to a home ministry official, the Kejriwal government was appointing non-cadre (from Indian revenue service or railway engineering service) officers instead of IAS officers deputed to it. Because of this, four or five IAS officers are awaiting posting.
“In the next cadre review, the cadre-controlling authority of IAS officers, the ministry of personnel, can say why should it earmark IAS officers for Delhi government it was not using their services. Therefore, we sought information about such officers from the Delhi government,” said the official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Besides, the official said, the ministry was the cadre-controlling authority for Delhi. “The ministry is well within its rights to seek such information from the Delhi government” the official said.