Centre rejects Delhi home secretary's transfer, Kejriwal protests

Indo Asian News Service

New Delhi, June 11 (IANS) In yet another episode in the ongoing tussle between the central and city governments, the Centre on Thursday said the transfer of Delhi's home secretary Dharam Pal by the AAP government was void, but Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal shot back, saying the transfer was valid.

In a three-page letter to Delhi's chief secretary K.K. Sharma, the union home ministry said Dharam Pal's transfer by the Aam Aadmi Party government was "ab initio void".

The AAP government had on Tuesday transferred Dharam Pal for notifying the appointment of Delhi Police Joint Commissioner M.K. Meena as the chief of the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB).

But Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung asked Dharam Pal to stay put.

The letter said that only the joint secretary in the union home ministry can transfer officers from the AGMUT cadre -- meaning Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram-Union Territories. Dharam Pal is an Indian Administrative Service officer from the same cadre.

The letter, dated June 10 and signed by Joint Secretary Rakesh Singh, asked Sharma to "rescind" the Delhi government order and ensure that Dharam Pal "functions without any disruption".

Kejriwal shot off a letter to the Centre in which he maintained that the transfer was valid.

According to a Delhi government official, Kejriwal wrote that posting of senior bureaucrats was indeed the jurisdiction of the Centre, but the discretion of allocating work to them was with the city government.

He also said it was up to the judiciary to decide whether the transfer was void since the issue was in court.

Who controls the bureaucracy in Delhi has been a major issue between the AAP government and the lt. governor. The issue has now reached court.

Meena was appointed the new ACB chief by Jung, superseding Kejriwal's handpicked department chief S.S. Yadav. The Delhi government has since given the post of home secretary to senior bureaucrat Rajendra Kumar.

With the appointment of Meena and transfer of Dharam Pal, a confusion-like situation prevails. Despite being ordered to go, both have refused to budge, citing Jung's order.

The Delhi government has made it clear that Yadav still heads the ACB and Rajendra Kumar holds the additional charge of home secretary.

In fact, Delhi Home Minster Satyendar Jain has issued a decree asking all secretaries and additional secretaries in the home department to send all files to Rajendra Kumar.