The file of Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru was on Wednesday sent back by the Delhi government to Lieutenant-Governor Tejendra Khanna with some “minor clarifications.”
Sources in the Delhi government's Home Department said the Lieutenant-Governor had on receiving the file on Tuesday immediately sent it back for “urgent clarifications.” They said two of the issues on which further clarity was sought were why there was so much delay in sending the file when most of the issues had been “sorted out” by 2007-08. Also, the “consent was not clear” from the manner in which the opinion had been given by the Delhi government on the mercy petition of Afzal Guru.
Following high-level meetings in the morning, the Delhi government sent the file back to the Lieutenant-Governor. A senior official in the Lieutenant-Governor's Secretariat confirmed that the file was received there in the afternoon.
It has been learnt that while the Delhi government had based its opinion on the reports filed before it by the Delhi police, the Director of Prosecution and the Probation Officer of the Social Welfare Department, it had also raised concerns about the law and order situation that may arise in certain parts of Delhi if the capital punishment was given to Afzal Guru.
The Delhi government, sources said, was particularly concerned that some anti-social elements might try to make use of the issue for raking up trouble.
The Home Department officials are also insisting that much was being made about the delay by the State government as its opinion on the mercy petition was not even mandatory under Article 72 of the Constitution. More so, because law and order is a subject handled by the Central government in Delhi.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit refused to elaborate on the issue and declared that she would make a statement on Saturday. Ms. Dikshit has come under severe criticism from the Opposition BJP for first denying knowledge about the file on Monday and then signing it and forwarding it to the Lieutenant-Governor the very next day.
Incidentally, the file sent by the Union Home Ministry to the Delhi government for its opinion on Afzal Guru's mercy petition has been lying with it for over four years.