Two years of animosity: Five contentious issues between Kejriwal govt and Najeeb JungPutting an end to the long battle with the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi govt, LG Najeeb today tendered his resignation with over a year to go into his tenure.
Putting an end to the long battle with the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party, Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung today tendered his resignation with over a year to go into his tenure.
Appointed as the Delhi LG in July 2013, Jung was retained by the Centre even as it replaced most Governors in the states.
For nearly two years, since the Aam Aadmi Party government came to power, he has been involved in a bitter battle over the distribution of power.
Here are five contentious issues between the Delhi government and LG Najeeb Jung:
1. Shakuntala Gamlin’s appointment:
In May 2015, Delhi Chief Secretary KK Sharma left for the US on a personal visit due to which the government had to appoint an acting Chief Secretary. Najeeb Jung gave the additional charge of Chief Secretary to Shakuntala Gamlin, a 1984-batch IAS officer, hours after she wrote a scathing letter to LG claiming that she was pressurised by a senior bureaucrat in CM’s office not to be in race for the post due to her alleged proximity to BSES discoms.
AAP govt accused the BJP govt at Centre of attempting to carry out a “coup” against it through Najeeb Jung.
The Delhi government issued an advisory to Gamlin to not follow the LG’s orders and assume the charge but she went on to take the charge in clear defiance of the expressed stand of the Kejriwal government.
Another officer Anindo Majumdar, Principal Secretary (Services), was also caught in the cross-fire when he was removed from his post by the CM for issuing orders appointing Gamlin as officiating chief secretary.
2. Anti-Corruption Bureau:
The Aam Aadmi Party contested the Delhi assembly elections in 2015 as a party which would ‘root out corruption’. After Arvind Kejriwal came to power with a historic mandate, the Ant-Corruption Bureau arrested many bureaucrats and policemen. Number of arrests was cited by the AAP govt as a big achievement in its fight against corruption.
In May 2015, the LG and Kejriwal govt both wrestled for control over the ACB. The tussle came to fore when ACB arrested a Head Constable of the Delhi Police on charges of corruption. The Union Home Ministry said that ACB could not act against Central govt employees including Delhi police. The case reached Delhi HC which ruled in the favour of Delhi govt.
However, Jung appointed Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police Mukesh Kumar Meena as the ACB chief on June 9 against the wishes of the AAP government.
The clash between the LG and Delhi government resulted in the ACB having two chiefs. While the AAP government had appointed Additional Commissioner S S Yadav for the post, The L-G appointed Meena, who was senior to Yadav.
3. AAP’s allegations against Najeeb Jung:
The Aam Aadmi Party has time and again accused Najeeb Jung of using his office to shield the officers found guilty by a CBI probe into multi-crore CNG fitness scam which was detected by Delhi Government's Anti-Corruption Branch in 2012. A number of officials of previous Sheila Dikshit government were under scanner in the scam.
In August 2015, the Arvind Kejriwal government announced the appointment of Commission of Inquiry to be headed by a retired Delhi High Court judge to probe the scam. The Commission of Inquiry was declared as "legally invalid and void" by the Union Home Ministry.
On June 9 this year, the Delhi Assembly passed a resolution to probe charges of corruption and bribery levelled against Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung by an AAP legislator.
Sanjay Jha, MLA from Burari, said that he had received complaints about a ration shop owner selling poor quality goods after which he intervened and got his licence suspended. However, he alleged, that the owner’s licence was renewed when he approached Lt Governor Najeeb Jung and paid him a bribe of Rs 12 lakh.
4. Tanker scam:
In June this year, Najeeb Jung had forwarded the Delhi Jal Board’s (DJB) complaint to ACB to probe the Rs 400 crore tanker scam, escalating trouble for both former and incumbent CMs of Delhi Sheila Dikshit and Arvind Kejriwal.
Soon after this, DJB chairman Kapil Mishra had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Jung to investigate the scam as agencies came directly under the Centre.
The AAP government had allegedly ignored the rules framed for the appointment of consultant in the matter. The opposition had then accused the government of not following the laid procedure and indulging in favouritism in appointing the first consultant.
5. Shunglu Committee:
In October 2016, LG Najeeb Jung had hit back at the Aam Aadmi Party government in the capital over its advice to dissolve the Shunglu Committee set up by him to examine 400 files pertaining to decisions the AAP dispensation has taken since coming to power.
The Delhi Cabinet had termed the three-member Shunglu Committee - which was looking into the files – as ‘unconstitutional’. Jung, however, termed the Cabinet decision ‘misleading’ and said that truth must come out. He also extended the tenure of the committee by six weeks.
Jung goes but issues remain:
The power tussle between the Lieutenant Governor and elected government reached to court and the Delhi High Court on August 4, 2016 upheld Article 230 of the Constitution and ruled that the LG remains the administrative head of the National Capital Territory of Delhi.
The court's judgement came on nine different petitions arising out of the spat between the LG and Delhi's Aam Aadmi Party government over the power to appoint bureaucrats in the national capital and other issues.
Delhi High Court said that AAP govt's contention that LG is bound to act on advice of Council of Ministers like in other states in India is without any substance and cannot be accepted, stating the LG of the National Capital Territory is not bound by the aid and advice of Council of Ministers.
The Kejriwal government moved Supreme Court against the high court order. On December 14, the Supreme Court observed that Delhi is no doubt a Union territory, but the elected government must have some powers to be able to function.
Hearing on the matter is next scheduled for January 18.