MCD elections 2017: Setback for CM Kejriwal as Delhi L-G Anil Baijal orders scrapping of AAP govt’s feedback unit

India.com News Desk
Tarun Seem, former health secretary of the Delhi government and a close aide of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, is under CBI scanner in alleged bribery case.

New Delhi: In a major setback to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal ahead of upcoming MCD elections 2017, Lt Governor Anil Baijal ordered shutting down of the AAP government-appointed ‘Feedback Unit’. The order came months after CBI registered a preliminary enquiry to look into its setting up without the LG’s nod. The unit was created under the Vigilance Department last year to reportedly “gather relevant information and actionable feedback” about officials and departments under the Delhi government. It was also asked to lay out traps to catch the bribe-taking bureaucrats red handed. News agency PTI quoted sources saying,”The Lt Governor has ordered the closure of the Feedback Unit in the first week of March.”

On the other hand, reacting to L-G’s order, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said there is nothing wrong in setting up such a unit by the government. Addressing a press conference at his residence, Sisodia said,”Every state should have a feedback unit and every government has it. The government should communicate with its people and take feedback. I don’t think there is anything wrong in it.”

News agency PTI quoted some sources in the Vigilance Department saying that government had hired around 15 retired police officers and experts even as the department did not know what they used to do. “Some of the members of the unit had resigned while some had quit their job. The government had also not extended the contract of some members, coming to an end in February this year. “It has not been functioning since March 1. The unit was last year given Rs 10 lakh as a secret fund,” a top government official said.

Earlier in January this year, a preliminary enquiry had been registered by the CBI after former Lt Governor Najeeb Jung had referred seven matters of alleged irregularity by Delhi government to the agency, which had come to light in the Shunglu panel report.

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) has ramped up attack on the Kejriwal government in run up to the MCD polls with the latest salvo being fired latching on to the Lt Governor’s direction of shutting down its ‘feedback unit’.  BJP leaders charged the Kejriwal government of running a ‘spy unit’ on government money, adding “the unit worked under Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal”.

While addressing a press conference, BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi said,”Privately a spying agency was run from the CM’s office. Interestingly it is called a feedback unit. It was unconstitutional, unethical and illegal.”

The leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta said the AAP government should declare details, including what cases were handled by the unit. “We want to know whether this unit worked for people or Aam Admi Party,” he said.

A few days back, the Lt Governor Anil Baijal had directed Rs 97 crore to be recovered from Aam Aadmi Party that was allegedly “splurged” by the city government on advertisements in violation of the Supreme Court guidelines. Baijal also ordered an inquiry into the spending on advertisements projecting Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his party and asked the chief secretary to assign responsibility.  The AAP will have to reimburse the money within a month.

(With inputs from agencies)