NEW DELHI: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal seems to be losing control over his temper over control of Delhi with Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung. Caught in the middle as helpless tools are the hapless Delhi bureaucrats. The Delhi CM on Saturday has sought an appointment with President Pranab Mukherjee to complain against Jung. In the meantime, Lieutenant Governor is going by the rule books and has also informed Home Minister Rajnath Singh that “officers of Delhi government are working under considerable pressure”.
Kejriwal sacked and transferred Principal Secretary Services Anindo Majumdar on Saturday accusing him of having recommending the names of four senior IAS officers for the post of acting Chief Secretary on the directions of Chief Secretary K K Sharma. The Lieutenant Governor who approves the transfer and posting of babus has not cleared the order. “This order is ab-initio void,” Raj Niwas issued a formal statement.
Despite being threatened by Kejriwal and his team, 1984-batch IAS officer Shakuntala D Gamlin took charge of interim Chief Secretary on Saturday. The Chief Minister’s Secretary Rajender Kumar had allegedly asked Gamlin not to accept the Lieutenant Governor’s offer and threatened to defame her if she took over. She says she was pressured and even threatened by the Kejriwal through Rajender Kumar to withdraw.
Meanwhile, Parimal Rai, who was backed by Kejriwal, declined to be the acting Chief Secretary, noting that he respects the Lt Governor’s directions. He also wrote to Kumar, “Gamlin perhaps more suitable as acting Chief Secretary.”
Sharma, 1983 batch IAS officer, is on leave for 10 days, the reason why the Government had to appoint an acting Chief Secretary. Sources said that Sharma had left for the US to meet his daughter after the Kejriwal government issued a show cause notice to him for not sending the file of transfers and postings of 10 senior IPS officers with Delhi Police that happened on May 6.
When matters did not work out in Kejriwal’s favour, he shot off a letter to Jung saying that the Lieutenant Governor has “bypassed the elected government” and is aghast by LG’s questionable instruction. “I would strongly request and urge you to remain within the confines of the Constitution and the laws relating to government of NCT of Delhi. You (L-G) are holding a constitutional post. Whatever be the political pressures, you have a duty to uphold the constitution.” Raj Niwas issued a strong statement, “The Lt. Governor has acted fully conscious of his duties and responsibilities under the Constitution of India. Till date not a single action taken by the Lt. Governor’s Secretariat is in non-confirmity with the provisions of the Constitution.”
On May 13, Sharma asked Principal Secretary of Services Anindo Majumdar to issue a note regarding given an interim charge of Chief Secretary to senior IAS officer during his leave from May 14 to May 24. Majumdar suggested four senior IAS officers’ names: Naini Jayaseelan, the 1980 batch IAS officer holding charge of Financial Commissioner, Sanjay Pratap Singh, the 1984-batch IAS officer holding charge of Principal Secretary OBC, Arvind Ray, the 1984 batch officer who is awaiting posting and Shakuntala Gamlin, the 1984 batch officer holding charge of Principal Secretary. Sharma approved Naini Jayaseelan’s name for acting Chief Secretary and marked the file to Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Kejriwal. Naini refused to take charge. Sisodia rejected the name of S P Singh and Arvind Ray. He also noted that Arvind Ray was removed from his post of Principal Secretary (Home) through a joint decision of Kejriwal and Jung. Sisodia noted, “We may choose from amongst Gamlim and Parimal Rai. I propose Parimal Rai.” The Delhi Chief Minister noted: “I agree.”
Thereafter the file was marked to Lieutenant Governor, who stated that Gamlin is the senior most among the two. “She has been with the state government for some time and acquainting her will in three months in a difficulty charge like power. Rai is equally competent. However, having posted back two weeks ago, the state government has yet not posted him in a regular charge. It would be not correct to give him the charge of CS without having been posted into a regular posting as yet.”
Jung further noted that Gamlim held several posts and has been a “consistent performer” and suggested Kejriwal to give her charge of CS for ten days. After waiing for a reply from the CM till May 15, Jung approved Gamlin to officiate as acting CS with immediate effect. Prior to this, Gamlin told the LG that Kejriwal through Kumar was not only blackmailing but also intimidating her. She says Kumar threatened with a note saying, “He (Hon’ble CM) has found the undersigned unsuitable for appointment as in-charge chief secretary as she had not only been ineffective in her present position but she has also tried to favour BSES-promoted by Reliance Industries Limited for proposing a comfort letter for their loan from Power Finance Corporation.” Gamlin in response, sent a written complaint to the Lieutenant-Governor who forwarded it to the Home Ministry. Jung wrote to Kejriwal over the issue and said, “Frankly, I am at a loss of words at this development. I also wish to inform that you that officers who have heard of this episode are deeply perturbed at this development.”
Jung immediately wrote to Home Minister Rajnath Singh informing about the incident. He said, “officers of Delhi Government are working under pressure” and apprised him of the threat to Gamlin.
Meawnhile, Kejriwal and Sisodia accuse the Centre of trying to stage a coup against the Delhi government using the LG. The IAS and Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Service (DANICS) associations are planning to meet Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Home Secretary L C Goyal, to lodge a complaint that officials are being ill treated by the Kejriwal government in Delhi.
Sources said that over 100 officials of Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram-Union Territories (AGMUT) cadre has approached the Ministry and lobbying to get posting from outside Delhi. Kejriwal has heightened the confrontation with all the government establishments including the Raj Niwas, Delhi police, Delhi Commission Women, Delhi Development Authority, Public Grievance Commission and other statutory bodies in his 95-day rule.