Kejriwal spars with Centre on police powers

Capital confrontation: FIR blames AAP for farmer's death; 10 complaints against Delhi CM.

Updated - November 16, 2021 05:08 pm IST

Published - April 25, 2015 01:45 am IST - New Delhi:

Even as the Centre and the Delhi government are in a stand-off over the suicide of a farmer at an AAP rally, a larger administrative crisis may be looming as both sides have taken irreconcilable positions on the powers of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) of the State government.

The point of dispute is whether the ACB can file cases of corruption against Delhi Police officers. Four days ago, the ACB filed a first information report against a woman police officer for allegedly seeking a bribe. A top source in the Delhi government said a Joint Commissioner of Police had now written to the ACB saying its action was unconstitutional since it had no jurisdiction over the Delhi Police. Ironically, the ACB is headed by a Delhi Police officer.

This conflict could give a new twist to the controversy surrounding farmer Gajendra Singh’s suicide as the Delhi Police will potentially be investigating the role of senior AAP leaders. Already 10 criminal complaints have been filed against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and senior AAP members. Police sources told The Hindu that “a slew of complaints demanding action” against Mr. Kejriwal had been filed at the Parliament Street police station.

Last July, while Delhi was still under President’s Rule, the Home Ministry amended a 1993 notification that gave the ACB the power to prosecute any public servant within the national capital territory. The AAP government, in its first avatar, had used this provision to file FIRs against former Ministers Murli Deora and M. Veerappa Moily in a case over gas pricing. The amendment changed that provision to say the ACB now has jurisdiction not over every public servant, but only over the officers of the Delhi government. The argument is that since the Delhi Police reports to the Home Ministry, no FIR for corruption can be filed against its officers. The ACB, however, has a different interpretation. A high-ranking official told The Hindu that the government’s notification did not specifically name any organisation not under its jurisdiction. He said the issue was of deciding which departments came under the Delhi government.

“The Chief Secretary writes the annual confidential report of the Delhi Police Commissioner; so he is technically an employee of the government,” he said.

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