Arvind Kejriwal Government Finds a Way to Sideline An Anti-Graft Chief It Didn't Want

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Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal speaking in the assembly


New Delhi:  Despite a setback in court, the Arvind Kejriwal government in Delhi has found a way of sidelining an officer appointed by Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung as chief of the capital's anti-corruption agency.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government's latest maneuver is an order on "work allocation" for the Anti-Corruption Bureau, which has ended up with two heads because of the clash between Chief Minister Kejriwal and the Lieutenant Governor.

MK Meena, appointed by the Lieutenant Governor two weeks ago, "will look after the work of training and monitoring of under trial cases" until a final court decision, says the order.

AAP's nominee SS Yadav, appointed soon after Mr Kejriwal took charge in February, has been given by far the more important role. He will supervise the work of senior police officers and also "supervise all investigations, inquiries and other functions of the anti-corruption branch," the order states.

This is apparently Mr Kejriwal's solution to the "crisis" that he referred to on Tuesday in the assembly. "The Centre has us in a jam...Today, the Delhi government has two home secretaries, two SHOs, two heads of the Anti-Corruption Bureau," he had said.

On Monday, the Delhi High Court rejected the AAP government's appeal to stop Mr Meena from entering his office and said that  he would remain chief of the Anti-Corruption Bureau, which investigates corruption charges against government officers.

Mr Kejriwal alleges that Mr Meena is soft on corruption and has refused to accept his appointment. But the high court, while rejecting the government's appeal, said Mr Yadav would report to Mr Meena, who outranks him.

Responding to the Chief Minister's comments in the assembly, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju said today: "The Delhi government has proved they can't govern. For everything they blame PM Modi and the Centre."

Since his election, Mr Kejriwal has accused the central government of using the Lieutenant Governor - who represents the Centre - to run Delhi by proxy. The government challenged the Centre's notification that said Mr Jung alone has the right to decide the offices of bureaucrats.


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