Shunglu panel finds faults with AAP government (Roundup)

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Shunglu panel finds faults with AAP government (Roundup)

New Delhi, April 6 (IANS) A panel appointed by former Lt Governor Najeeb Jung has accused the AAP government of nepotism in making appointments and abuse of power, sparking allegations and counter-allegations on Thursday.

While the BJP and Congress went hammer and tongs against the Aam Aadmi Party ahead of the April 23 civic polls, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s party said it was innocent of the charges.

A three-member committee headed by former Comptroller and Auditor General V.K. Shunglu reviewed 404 files of the Kejriwal government to allege there were irregularities with various appointments and other decisions.

The report accessed by IANS questioned the appointment of Soumya Jain, daughter of Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain, as an adviser to Mission Director of Mohalla Clinic project, which has won global praise for providing free healthcare.

The committee also raised questions on the appointment of Nikunj Agarwal, a relative of Kejriwal’s wife, as Officer on Special Duty to the Health Minister.

It questioned a cabinet decision of allotting government-owned 206 Rouse Avenue (now Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Marg) bungalow to the AAP as its office, allotment of bungalows to Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal and MLA Akhilesh Pati Tripathi.

“Since land is a ‘reserved’ subject, this decision should be deemed null and void,” the report said, referring to land in Delhi not falling in the purview of the city government.

The AAP said the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress were raking up the report to divert attention from what it called was the detection of fraud in EVM machines.

AAP leader Dilip Pandey said the BJP and Congress had a habit of making wild allegations before elections.

“Every time an election comes, (they) make baseless allegations against us, which are forgotten after the elections are over. This happened in the 2015, 2014 and 2013,” Pandey said.

AAP leader Ashutosh said the BJP and Congress wanted to divert attention from the Delhi government’s work in education, health, free water and cheap electricity.

Congress leader Ajay Maken demanded the resignation of Kejriwal over the report and a Supreme Court monitored CBI inquiry.

Maken – who claimed he got the report through an RTI – accused the AAP government of corruption, nepotism and misuse of public money for “unsanctioned” foreign tours of AAP leaders.

He said Congress workers would on Friday protest against the AAP in all 272 wards of Delhi.

Delhi BJP President Manoj Tiwari said the Shunglu report had exposed misuse of authority and public money.

“It is clear that Kejriwal has misused public money and government appointments for his political benefit.”

AAP’s Pandey accused the Congress and the BJP of looting the municipal corporations for the last 20 years and asked them why no committee was set up to probe their wrongdoings.

Ashutosh added: “Now they want a recognised party having its government in the state not to even have an office.

“No one asks how the Congress with zero seats in the Delhi assembly can have an office in Delhi. Or how the BJP with just three seats also has an office in Delhi.”

Ashutosh said there were no irregularities but only differences of opinion between the Delhi government and the Lt Governor’s office which the report talked about.

The Shunglu Committee was set up by Jung in August last year after the Delhi High Court gave primacy to the Lt Governor in Delhi’s administrative affairs. The report was submitted in November, weeks before Jung quit.

Jung’s tenure was marked by sharp tensions between his office, which reported to the central government, and the AAP government.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.