NEW DELHI: In a major setback to the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP Government in Delhi, Delhi High Court on Monday refused to restrain LG-appointed Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) chief M K Meena from entering his office, while asking him to act in accordance with law.
Justice V P Vaish also turned down Delhi government’s request to stop Meena from taking away the FIR book out of the ACB headquarters, allowing recording of new FIRs and seeking removal of paramilitary personnel posted there.
After senior counsel Indira Jaising, appearing for government, sought directions to restrain Meena from allegedly pressuring the ACB officials, the court directed him to act in accordance with law while asking the city government whether the ACB would function smoothly if he were restrained.
The court issued notice to the Centre directing it to file its response within two weeks and listed the application for further hearing on August 11 along with the ongoing litigation challenging the Centre’s notification giving the L-G absolute powers to appoint bureaucrats in the national capital. The court also refused to implead Meena stating that the government had filed a plea challenging Constitutional validity of the Centre’s May 21 notification.
The court was hearing the Delhi government plea alleging that Meena had been misusing his powers to browbeat and threaten officials of the ACB and the Vigilance Department, after the AAP Government-nominated ACB chief S S Yadav accused Meena of threatening and pressuring him.
During heated arguments Jaising said during the 49-day tenure in 2014, the AAP I Government had lodged 21 cases. “No cases have been lodged after June 4, 2015. This is due to M K Meena taking charge on June 8, 2015,” she said.
Jaising 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. On numerous occasions, he (Meena) has put pressure on the ACB officers to transfer all cases of corruption involving police personnel from ACB to Delhi Police” .
She also argued that ACB was being prevented from investigating acts of corruption and misuse or abuse of public office, with the objective of shielding persons whose conduct was under investigation and to thereby thwart the course of administration of justice and enforcement of the rule of law in Delhi. Opposing Jaising, Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain contended that the ACB was a police station and since police fell within the Centre’s purview, the Central government was empowered to post someone to head it and Meena was a Joint Commissioner rank officer and not an Inspector.