A voluminous VK Shunglu Committee report is yet another reminder that for Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, rule of law means that his personal discretion is law in Delhi. The perks of power, government positions, sanctioned or otherwise and any associated benefits were to be offered to the chosen beneficiaries at whims to relatives of ministers and personal favourites of party lords, in total disregard to laid out structures and norms.
He could still brazen it out, he and his party colleagues could still lecture on morality, public probity and integrity, claiming that everyone else in varied social structure and polity except for those associated with their party AAP had some taint to hide.
Unfortunately for him, a well documented Shunglu committee report along with annexure, which came to conclusions after examining 404 files and discussions with key officials including chief secretary and principal secretaries of departments concerned, has exposed Kejriwal's hypocritical probity stance in public life.
More so, this official expose comes at a time when Kejriwal is already facing the heat of another finding and subsequent directive by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal asking Delhi Chief Secretary to initiate process of recovery of Rs 97 crore by Arvind Kejriwal-led ruling Aam Admi Party for a series of advertisements which Kejriwal, as chief minister, issued in violation of Supreme Court directive. As per L-G's directive, Delhi government (Kejriwal) has to recover this huge amount from AAP (Kejriwal) in 30 days' time, of which one week has already elapsed.
The L-G's order was not whimsical. It was based on findings of the Supreme Court-mandated Committee on Content Regulation of Government Advertising (CCRGA), constituted by Information and Broadcasting ministry.
Another revelation is that Kejriwal insisted that Ram Jethmalani must bill for defending him in defamation case filed against him by finance minister Arun Jaitley. And on his instructions, Delhi government cleared the payment file at a super-fast speed without due approval from L-G, which badly tarnished his image.
Shunglu committee findings reveal that Kejriwal government is hit with a malice of the worst kind for any government: Nepotism, favouritism and cronyism. It goes on listing instances after instances where norms were flouted, laid out official channels bypassed, not just the L-G who is administrative head of Delhi government but also the departments like law and finance, which were otherwise required to give approval on files in most cases.
Take for instance appointment of health minister Satyendra Jain's daughter Soumya Jain as as adviser to mission director, Delhi State Mission. Soumya had a degree in architecture and didn't have any supportive documents to her claim for expertise on mohalla clinics. The file also does not have any mention as to who approved her appointment. Despite that, she was appointed to the post. An expenditure of Rs 1.15 lakh was also incurred between the date of her joining and the date she resigned from the post. Shunglu committee noted "these events could only be explained by the fact that Soumya Jain is the daughter of Satyendar Jain, health minister and Chairman of Delhi state health mission and of society registered for executing projects."
Another case of nepotism relates to appointment of Nikunj Agarwal, said to be a relative of Kejriwal, as OSD to the health minister. "Dr Agarwal is appointed as senior resident on an ad hoc basis on his mere application by the resident medical officer of CNBC hospital, when there was no vacancy in that hospital and the established procedure is to invite applications through advertisements and effect selections after interviews by a panel of expert," the committee report said.
The committee cites appointment of Gopal Mohan as "fascinating". Mohan moved from one post to another, beginning with a post of adviser (anti-Corruption) to Chief Minister Kejriwal with token remuneration of One rupee and then moving on to the post of adviser grievances which had a monthly salary of Rs 1.15 lakh. He also recovered arrears of same amount for initial months where he served with token one rupee. The committee report indicts Kejriwal government by saying "series of deft moves apparently designed to provide him (Mohan) benefits".
Shunglu committee report is full of such instances in all sectors of government functioning and appointments.
What should trouble Kejriwal and his party colleagues that this comes ahead of three Municipal Corporation of Delhi elections. A series of such reports have taken probity plank away from the government. Kejriwal had so far relied heavily on high voltage print, TV and radio ads to boast governance.
The BJP is currently ruling in all three municipal corporations in Delhi and AAP for the first time would be going to these elections as challenger. With 67 seats in 70 member assembly, won only two years ago, municipal elections otherwise should have been a cakewalk for AAP. But results of recent round of assembly elections and such exposes have taken its toll on morale of AAP leaders and party sympathisers.
Published Date: Apr 07, 2017 04:16 pm | Updated Date: Apr 07, 2017 04:24 pm