Accused of corruption by the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Delhi Lieutenant Governor (LG) V K Saxena on Thursday hit back hard at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal charging him with resorting to "diversionary tactics and false accusations" out of "desperation", a development which is likely to snowball into a full-blown political slugfest.
The relations between the two sides in the national capital have worsened after V K Saxena in July recommended a Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) probe into the alleged irregularities in the implementation of the Arvind Kejriwal government's Excise Policy 2021-22.
Subsequently, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) accused V K Saxena of corruption during his tenure as the chairman of Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) and demanded a CBI probe into it.
Breaking his silence on the corruption allegation, the Lieutenant Governor tweeted he had flagged various issues including "grave anomalies" in the Excise Policy 2021-22, now withdrawn by the Kejriwal government, but "unfortunately" the response he received was in the form of "subterfuge" and "personal attack" on him.
Earlier in the day, Arvind Kejriwal, responding to a question on the Lieutenant Governor deciding to initiate legal action against AAP leaders, said, "I believe if we have joined the public life, we should be ready for any probe. Manish Sisodia welcomed it. Legal action is sort of a threat to scare, we will see what legal action happens." The Lieutenant Governor said in a tweet, "I called for good governance, zero tolerance to corruption and better services for the people of Delhi. But unfortunately Hon'ble CM @ArvindKejriwal Ji in desperation has resorted to diversionary tactics and false accusations." VK Saxena, sharing a brief statement on Twitter, said he would not be surprised if "more such baseless personal attacks" were made on him and his family in the coming days.
"He (Kejriwal) should know that I will under no circumstances whatsoever be deterred from my constitutional duties. My commitment to improving the lives of the people of Delhi remains unwavering," he said in the statement.
Earlier this week, AAP Member of Legislative Assembly(MLA) Durgesh Pathak had in the Delhi Assembly accused Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena of corruption involving change of demonetised notes in 2016 during his tenure as chairman of Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC).
The AAP has alleged a Rs 1,400 crore scam and demanded a CBI probe against Saxena.
"As a public representative, CM needs to explain to the people 'his art' of converting Rs 17 lakh, ascertained by CBI as demonetised currency exchanged by 2 employees of Khadi Bhawan Delhi, into Rs 1400 Cr as claimed by AAP," VK Saxena said in another tweet.
The Lieutenant Governor has decided to initiate legal action against AAP leaders for "false and defamatory" charges levelled on him, officials at his office had said on Wednesday.
The statement issued by the Lieutenant Governor said he had flagged various issues, including "grave anomalies" in the excise policy, inordinate delay of 2.5 years in acting on a CVC report on irregularities in the construction of classrooms in Delhi government schools, files not being signed by Arvind Kejriwal, CAG audits not being conducted timely in state universities, cabinet notes reaching the Lieutenant Governor office after Cabinet meetings and non-availability of water in foreign missions, as his constitutional duties towards the people of Delhi.
"I had expected Arvind Kejriwal ji to address these in the right spirit," he said and added " unfortunately, the response has been nothing but subterfuge amounting to defence of the indefensible and abusive personal attack on me." The Lieutenant Governor's office had responded to allegations on VK Saxena by AAP, saying the matter was probed by the CBI and the agency has already filed a charge sheet against two accused KVIC employees. The matter is pending in the Rouse Avenue Court, New Delhi, they said.
An FIR was registered by the CBI on September 10, 2017, against the two accused. The CBI found that only Rs 17,07,000 were deposited in the form of demonetised currency notes in the account of KGB, New Delhi, instead of Rs 22,17,000, as reported by the CVO, the LG office's note said.
AAP leaders have alleged that Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena as KVIC chairman got demonetised notes exchanged by pressuring employees and went on to claim that Rs 22 lakh got exchanged in the Delhi branch alone.
There are 7,000 such branches across the country which means there was a scam of Rs 1,400 crore, the AAP leaders had alleged.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, named an accused in the CBI FIR in connection with alleged irregularities in the excise policy, took a dig at VK Saxena without naming him and asked why he was "so scared" of a probe.
"I had not done anything wrong so I was not scared. I was thoroughly investigated and nothing was found. My honesty was once again proved before the whole country. Why are you so scared of a probe. Seems, something looks really fishy," Manish Sisodia said in a tweet on Thursday.
The CBI probing the excise policy case has raided ManishSisodia's residence and searched his locker.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)