Lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung on Monday appointed senior Delhi Police officer Mukesh Kumar Meena as the chief of the Capital’s anti-corruption branch, straining further the already troubled ties with the Kejriwal government.
Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia alleged a conspiracy and questioned credentials of Meena, who took over his new assignment late in the night. A government spokesperson said they had not been informed about the appointment that took many by surprise.
Several officials, however, said the government was informed and had cleared the transfer. Sources said the L-G’s decision could be challenged in the court as early as Tuesday.
The move comes a week after Jung questioned the government’s decision to draft five Bihar police officers in the anti-graft unit that largely draws officers from the Delhi Police.
A 1989-batch Indian Police Service Officer, joint commissioner Meena takes charge of the ACB from additional commissioner SS Yadav, who was hand-picked by the Delhi government.
Sisodia took to Twitter and said Meena was the officer who had changed farmer Gajender Singh’s suicide to murder and tried to frame him. Singh’s suicide at a rally of the ruling AAP had led to a huge uproar.
Sisodia said the post of joint commissioner was specially created to accommodate Meena. The ACB reports to Sisodia, who is also the vigilance minister. The Delhi Police also transferred seven of its inspectors to the ACB, two months after the request was sent to them.
The four months of the Kejriwal government have seen a bitter turf war with the L-G, who represents the Centre, over appointments of senior officers and routing of files. The ACB’s jurisdiction is also being contested in the court.
There was talk that Meena was brought in to clip the wings of Yadav, under who the ACB has reopened several corruption cases, arrested at least 25 senior officials and booked four police personnel.
Claiming a conspiracy, Sisodia questioned the alleged hurry in pushing the appointment of the “favourite officer” and asking him to take charge on Monday night itself. He wondered if the ACB’s reopening investigation in the 2002 CNG scam had propelled the move. The AAP has accused the L-G of shielding officers in the R100 crore scandal.
“The appointment of the present chief who will continue to be in the Delhi Police and head the ACB appears to be strange. How can an officer remain with the Delhi Police and work for the Delhi government when the two are at loggerheads?” a senior official said.
The Delhi Police, unlike other states, reports to the union home ministry while the ACB works under the state government.