Issue of control over anti-graft body losing sheen?


Neither of the twin chiefs at the helm of the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) could deliver on Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s orders of filing a report each related to the events preceding the filing of a chargesheet in the CNG fitness scam by a section of officials deployed in the anti-graft body last week.

In a related development, the issue of control over the ACB seemed to have relatively lost its sheen on either side with both the Aam Aadmi Party-led (AAP) Delhi government and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre having arrived at what is broadly being described as a silent “compromise formula” over who controls the anti-graft unit.

Both Joint Commissioner (ACB) Mukesh Kumar Meena and Additional Commissioner Surender Singh Yadav were required to do so as per an Inquiry constituted by Mr. Sisodia in the matter on September 2. Reopened investigation in the Rs. 100-crore CNG Scam had renewed the tug-of-war between the two entities on June 6.

According to a senior government official, while Mr. Meena recused himself from even reporting to Mr. Sisodia's office, Mr. Yadav is understood to have sought at least a week's time from the Deputy Chief Minister to file a report.

While the matter is understood to have been broached at a meeting between Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday afternoon, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Delhi government sources have indicated, both sides seemed to have reached a compromise formula at least on the subject of the ACB.

“The matter is already sub-judice and will come up for hearing later this month,” said an official. “Both sides have realised that there is no point in stepping up their respective political rhetoric over the subject and that it is better left to the wisdom of the honourable judge presiding over it,” the official added.

As reported by The Hindu on Monday, sources close to Mr. Meena had said he was likely to “ignore “Mr. Sisodia's directions for compliance, while sources close to Mr. Yadav had said that he was likely to recommend a CBI probe on the same failing which more time would be sought to prepare a detailed report on the matter.

A government official attributed Mr. Meena's decision to recuse himself on the basis of the fact that he believed the chargesheet, which was submitted to a city court last week, had been prepared in line with procedures established by law in light of which, Mr. Meena is understood to believe, that “no other agency had the legal authority to question or expect the allowance of its interference” related to it. The ACB continues to be the flashpoint and origin of a bitter feud between the Delhi government and the Centre over whose writ runs supreme over the unit which is believed to have given a significant boost to the Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) political campaign prior to the Assembly elections earlier this year.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 6:22:22 AM |

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