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‘Gross misuse of power’: Shunglu committee indicts AAP govt for irregularities

The three-member Shunglu Committee, headed by former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) VK Shunglu, was set up by then Lt Governor Najeeb Jung.
PTI New Delhi April 06, 2017 12:35 IST

The Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party government has come in for some severe indictment from a committee appointed to probe the dealings of the Delhi government. Days after demanding Rs 3.86 crore fee from the government’s coffers to fund his lawyer’s bill in a defamation case, the report by the committee claimd that Kejriwal resorted to gross misuse of power to favour close ones. 

The three-member Shunglu committee, constituted by the then Lt Governor Najeeb Jung to look into decisions taken by the government, has questioned several appointments made by the city government.

In its report, the committee, after reviewing 404 files of the government, pointed out ‘gross abuse of power’ by the Kejriwal government. It said that several irregularities were found with various appointments including the selection of Health Minister Satyendar Jain's daughter Soumya Jain in Mohalla Clinic project. 

The committee also flagged decisions including the allotment of land to the AAP for its party office, appointment of Minister Satyendra Jain's daughter as ‘mission director’ of Delhi State Health Mission and a number of purported AAP functionaries as ‘advisors’.

"Soumya, who is an architect, was made an adviser to Mission Director, Delhi State Health Mission. However she asserted her expertise with regard to Mohalla Clinics even though her CV does not support her claim. Second, the Memorandum of Association of State Health Society (Delhi) and rules and bylaws do not support such appointment," the committee said in its report.

"The file contained no evidence of who approved her appointment," it said.

"These events can only be explained by the fact that Soumya Jain is the daughter of Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain," the report added.

The report observed that the genesis of the conflict lay in an April 2015 order issued by Kejriwal to all the departments. It directed officers to take decisions without consulting the Lt Governor on all subjects that have been transferred to the Delhi Assembly under Article 239AA(3)a of the Indian Constitution. 

The panel further said that the decision to allot land to the AAP to build a party office should be considered ‘null and void’ and also questioned the allotment of residence to DCW Chairperson Swati Maliwal. 

The report which runs into over 100 pages deals with decisions, including appointment of certain individuals as advisors to the government, taken by Kejriwal and his Cabinet where it had no authority to do so and without the LG's concurrence. 

"In pursuance of the directions of the CM in April 2015, it became the practice among ministers not to obtain the approval of the LG and to provide approval at their level," it said. 

Among other issues, the report raised questions on the government posting officers to the Anti-Corruption Branch, its decisions on transfer and appointments of officers, foreign travel undertaken by ministers without the LG's sanction and appointment of lawyers. 

The three-member Shunglu Committee, headed by former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) VK Shunglu, was set up by then Lt Governor Najeeb Jung after Delhi High Court gave primacy to the LG in Delhi administrative affairs in August last year.

Earlier Jung had said that Kejriwal may face ‘criminal charges’ over irregularities found by the panel.