The Delhi government on Monday accused the Union Housing Ministry of pedalling "lies" and "motivated allegations" in connection with the Anaj Mandi fire incident that killed 43 people, and alleged that the Centre was exploiting the tragedy for political reasons.
The reaction came after Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said he wondered why those "responsible for the incident" did not take their responsibilities seriously. He accused Delhi government's Urban Development Department of delaying the notification of the redevelopment plan of special areas in the national capital under the 2021 Master Plan.
But Delhi's Urban Development Minister Satyendar Jain said the Union ministry was spreading "lies". "A tragic incident has been sought to be exploited for political reasons and it is unbecoming of a Union ministry to become a part of this dangerous game," it said.
The AAP government also alleged that the Union ministry made "factual inaccuracies" and "motivated allegations".
"The minister's office (Jain's office) has checked all records and states with full responsibility that the Union ministry''s claim is false and misleading," it said.
Mr Puri, also the co-incharge of Delhi BJP for the upcoming assembly polls, had said the municipal corporations had to make the redevelopment plan, as mandated in the Master Plan.
"It was sent to the Urban Development Department of the Delhi government for notification in official gazette in April 2017. But despite providing all clarifications from time to time it is still pending for notification. What were these departments waiting for? Today, Delhi seeks answers," Mr Puri tweeted on Sunday.
But the Delhi government said the file referred to by the Union ministry was in Delhi Urban Development Minister Jain's office "for less than 24 hours and was immediately cleared by him".
"Official records show this file was received in the minister's office on August 26 this year at 12:33 PM and the minister immediately cleared it, and it was despatched from his office at 11:56 AM the next day - August 27."
The Union Housing Ministry would have done well to check with other representatives of the Central government dealing with Delhi's administration about the file instead of spreading "lies", it said in the statement.
"It is sad that the Union ministry in a desperate bid to get some publicity has unsuccessfully tried to shift the onus on the Urban Development Minister of Delhi, in which actually the minister had no role or say," it said.
The dates mentioned by the ministry regarding the movement of file are "wrong" and it should tell why did it choose to "mislead" the people of Delhi, the city government said.