Shunglu panel points out ‘gross abuse of power’ by Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP govt
The three-member Shunglu Committee, formed by the then lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung, has pointed out “gross abuse of power” by the Arvind Kejriwal government in its report.
The report was submitted by the committee to L-G Jung last year, but it surfaced on Wednesday even as the Congress announced to make it public on Thursday noon. The party accessed a copy through RTI.
While Jung had recommended a few inquiries based on the committee report, he had refused to put it in public domain.
The committee was formed by Jung soon after the Delhi High Court on August 4 last year stamped the L-G as the city’s administrator.
In the report, the committee flagged decisions, including the allotment of land to the AAP for its party office, appointment of minister Satyendra Jain’s daughter as “mission director” of the Delhi State Health Mission and a number of purported AAP functionaries as “advisors”.
While AAP government functionaries refused to comment on the development immediately, both the Arvind Kejriwal government and AAP leaders had in the past questioned the ‘legality’ of the committee.
The report observes that the genesis of the conflict lay in an April 2015 order issued by Kejriwal to all the departments.
It directed officers to take decisions without consulting the Lt Governor on all subjects that have been transferred to the Delhi Assembly under Article 239AA(3)a of the Indian Constitution.
The panel said the decision to allot land to the AAP to build a party office should be considered “null and void” and also questioned the allotment of residence to DCW chairperson Swati Maliwal.
The report that runs into over 101 pages deals with decisions, including appointment of certain individuals as advisors to the government, taken by Kejriwal and his Cabinet where it had no authority do so and without the LG’s concurrence.
“In pursuance of the directions of the CM in April 2015, it became the practice among ministers not to obtain the approval of the LG and to provide approval at their level,” it said.
Among other issues, the report raised questions on the government posting officers to the Anti-Corruption Branch, its decisions on transfer and appointments of officers, foreign travel undertaken by ministers without the LG’s sanction and appointment of lawyers.
In an interview to a news channel after he quit as Delhi L-G, Jung had said that Kejriwal may face “criminal charges” over irregularities found by the panel.
With PTI inputs
A partial shutdown was observed in parts of Srinagar on Saturday on the call of separatist amalgam Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on the death anniversaries of his father Molvi Mohammad Farooq and senior Hurriyat leader Abdul Gani Lone. Another local said commercial activities were also suspended in Khanyar, Fatah Kadal, Habba Kadal and Bohri Kadal areas.
Himachal Pradesh government on Saturday reshuffled four Indian Police Services officers. A 2003-batch IPS officer, PD Prasad, has been posted as inspector general of southern range in superannuation of Himanshu Mishra. Rameshwar Singh Thakur, IG, state vigilance and anti-corruption bureau, has been posted as the IG CID (intelligence). HP principal secretary, health, Subashish Panda said allied health professionals play an important role and the state government would be soon implementing the same.
The head priest of Mata Vaishno Devi shrine, Pandit Amir Chand, passed away at his residence in Jammu and Kashmir's Reasi district on Saturday morning, officials said. Pandit Chand belonged to the family of Pandit Shridhar, who believed to have discovered the three-peaked cave shrine in Trikuta Hills some 700 years ago. “The mortal remains of the priest were consigned to flames at Banganga later in the day,” said a police officer.
J&K lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha on Saturday said terrorism is the gravest threat to peace and prosperity and no one will be allowed to create disturbances in UT. Sinha administered the 'Anti-Terrorism Pledge' to senior officials, DCs and SSPs at Raj Bhawan to mark the observance of Anti-Terrorism Day. “I reaffirm our strong commitment to uphold peace and harmony and to defeat the forces of disruption threatening human lives,” he said.
Veteran Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Saturday said the current tourism boom in Jammu and Kashmir is due to the rising temperature in the rest of the country and not because of any improved situation in the UT. Azad made the assertion, reiterating his stand on the Delimitation Commission report, saying that “the tailor-made report is in contradiction with the ground realities”. He is scheduled to return to Srinagar on Sunday.