A dozen officers who were approached refused to serve in the Delhi chief minister’s office, afraid that they will be targeted by the CBI.
New Delhi: Many IAS officers working with the Aam Aadmi Party hold dual charge of departments. There is an urgent need of about a dozen additional officers in the Delhi government. But, due to the recent history of legal cases against those serving in the chief minister’s office (CMO), getting them on board is proving to be difficult.
“Due to a shortage of officers, several senior ones are holding multiple departments. For example, finance, home and planning departments are with one officer, and higher education, school education and technical education with another,” sources in the Arvind Kejriwal government claim.
The source, on condition of anonymity, said that since August 2016, the elected government led by Kejriwal has not been consulted by the lieutenant governor’s office or the Ministry of Home Affairs in either the appointment, transfer or allocation of departments to various IAS officers. “Everything is being done by them without consulting us,” the source added.
It has also reported that the Kejriwal government is contemplating bringing in officials from outside the capital or appointing private persons on co-terminus basis as over a dozen senior officers have refused to work in the CMO. The refusal mostly arises out of the fear of being under the “CBI radar”, since the chief minister’s principal secretary Rajendra Kumar and deputy secretary Tarun Kumar faced action in an alleged graft case. Both officers were suspended following the CBI case in 2016.
A dozen officers who were approached refused to serve in the CMO for the fear of being targeted. Incidentally, ever since he took office in February 2015, Kejriwal has had a constant tussle with the Centre over the issue of appointments and transfer of officers. The matter was taken to court, where the high court finally held in August 2016 that Delhi continues to be a Union Territory and the LG is its administrative head. It had also declared a number of moves of the elected government illegal, including initiating inquiry into the CNG fitness scam and the district cricket association, saying these were made without the approval or views of the LG.
Sources in the government said that since the month of August, there has been no discussion with the LG or the MHA on the issue of transfer or posting of the IAS and DANICS cadre officers. It was also in August last that Kejriwal had accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “destroying Delhi through the LG” after two senior officers, PWD secretary Sarvagya Srivastava and health secretary Tarun Seem, were replaced with IAS officers Chandraker Bharti and Ashwani Kumar by the LG without consulting him. A committee of three members under the former chief vigilance commissioner V.K. Shunglu was constituted to examine over 400 files for “infirmities” and “irregularities”, and it had later indicted the elected government on the issue of appointments.