Delhi government moves HC to restrain M K Meena from entering ACB office
New Delhi: Intensifying its battle against the Lt Governor and the Centre, Delhi Government today urged the High Court here to issue directions to restrain LG- appointee ACB chief M K Meena from entering his office and "interfering" with the functioning of the anti-graft body.
The Aam Aadmi Party government filed a fresh application in the ongoing litigation challenging the Centre's notification giving Lt Governor Najeeb Jung absolute powers to appoint bureaucrats in the capital, after AAP government- nominated Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) chief S S Yadav accused Meena of threatening and pressuring him.
The face-off between the LG and Arvind Kejriwal's government has resulted in the ACB now having two chiefs.
In its application filed through standing Counsel Raman Duggal, the city government alleged that "M K Meena has been misusing his powers to browbeat and threaten officials of ACB and the Vigilance Department.
"On numerous occasions he has put pressure on ACB officers to transfer all cases of corruption involving police personnel from ACB to Delhi Police."
It also alleged that the "Centre has been repeatedly attempting to interfere with and hamper the smooth functioning of the ACB. The notification which have been impugned in the writ petition were the first attempt in this direction."
The AAP government has also sought direction to implead Meena as party in the main petition, which has challenged a May 21 notification and the July 23, 2014 notification limiting the ACB's jurisdiction to Delhi government officials only and not the city police which is under the Centre.
"Pass an order restraining Meena, 1989-batch Indian Police Service officer, Joint Commissioner/New Delhi Range from entering the office of ACB of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi and from interfering in any manner with functioning of the ACB," the application, which is likely to be heard on Monday, said.
A confidential note was addressed by Chief Minister Kejriwal to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on June 22 "narrating the manner in which the functioning of the ACB is being hampered and requesting him to intervene and direct LG and Delhi Police to cease the interference with the ACB," the city government's application said.
The order appointing Meena "was issued, bypassing the Chief Minister. It is pertinent to point out that ACB was set up more than 45 years ago and has been directly under the control of the Delhi government," the plea said.
It stated that "ACB is headed by an Additional Commissioner of Police and there is no sanctioned post of Joint Commissioner of Police in the ACB".
"S S Yadav is presently posted as Additional Commissioner and head of the ACB. M K Meena has been directed to look after and sought to take over the work of a non-existent post and the order is accordingly patently void.
"This itself shows, how an order has been hurriedly issued (by the Centre) without application of mind, apart from the fact that the said order was issued without jurisdiction and in malafide exercise of power," it said.
The application said that the Delhi government decided to move the court after Meena on June 24 allegedly went to Yadav's office and asked for the FIRs filed with ACB pertaining to Delhi Police officials.
It also said that Director of Vigilance was the ex- officio head of ACB as per an order dated August 19, 1998 issued by Delhi government's Home Department.
When Director Vigilance asked Meena to vacate the office as there was "no sanctioned post" of Joint Commissioner in the ACB, Meena had said that he had taken over charge of the post as per orders and would continue, the plea said.
It all began on June 8, when Joint Commissioner Meena took charge of ACB after he was appointed by LG, superseding Additional Commissioner S S Yadav. Yadav had been hand-picked by Delhi government for the post.
The city government said no police officer working in Delhi Police has never held an additional charge in the ACB.
"The ACB and Delhi police are completely different and separate entities. Officers come on deputation from Delhi Police to ACB but they never hold an additional charge in both places. There is direct conflict of interest if an officer holds posts in both ACB and Delhi Police simultaneously," the plea said.
It cited instances where Meena had allegedly issued "illegal order directing that no reference would be sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs, LG, offices of the Central Government, Delhi government and any other authorities without his prior approval and that strict action would be taken against anyone found violating the order".
"It is submitted that the wholly arbitrary, illegal attempt on part of the respondent (Centre) is to usurp, hijack and subvert the very functioning of ACB by deputing its chosen officer, namely Meena," the plea added.
The application also alleged that an attempt was being made to "shield officers who acted in an manner detrimental to public interest.
"The objective appears to be, to prejudice the attempts of the elected (AAP) government to uproot corruption from the national capital, hamper, scuttle and ongoing investigation and compromise crucial sensitive evidence," it added.