Govt seeks strong ACB

Govt seeks strong ACB

Passes resolution in House

The Delhi Assembly on Wednesday passed a resolution seeking withdrawal of the central government’s notification curtailing powers of the Anti-Corruption Branch.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, while moving the Aam Aadmi Party government’s resolution, accused the Narendra Modi government of weakening the ACB. He said the AAP government’s fight against corruption has suffered a blow since it no longer has power to probe erring police and Delhi Development Authority officials.

Currently, law and order and land issues in the capital are controlled by the Centre through the Lieutenant Governor and an elected Delhi government has no say in such matters.

In June last year, the Union Home Ministry through a notification had stripped the Delhi ACB of powers to probe central government employees for bribery. The notification came as an amendment to the Centre’s 1993 order that allowed the previous AAP government to book two former UPA ministers – ex-petroleum and natural gas ministers Murli Deora and Veerappa Moily – on corruption charges.

“The Anti-Corruption Branch had the same power to act against anyone for the last 22 years. But suddenly the new government in 2014 strikes down its power. Why?” Sisodia said, adding that it is unconstitutional to make amendments through a simple executive notification.

The resolution was passed only after a stiff opposition from the BJP, which has three MLAs in the 70-member House. Vijender Gupta, leader of the BJP legislature party, evoked the rulebook to say that the government should have given a seven-day notice in writing before moving the resolution.

But Speaker Ram Niwas Goel cut in, saying he has exercised his power to allow tabling of the resolution on a shorter notice.

Following passage of the resolution, the three BJP legislators walked out from the Assembly in protest. “We accept that you (AAP) are an anarchist party, but the law has its limits,” said Gupta, arguing that Delhi government’s “anti-corruption system” can’t be given the mandate to probe employees of the central government.

“If the House passes a resolution to extend the ACB’s jurisdiction to Haryana, it does not mean that the powers of the ACB will extend beyond the NCT (National Capital Territory) of Delhi,” the BJP legislator said.

After reassuming power in Delhi, the Arvind Kejriwal-led government has been claiming that it was getting increasingly difficult to act on complaints received on its anti-corruption helpline, which solicits sting operations against both state and central government employees.

Fountains run dry to preserve water
There was a noticeable display of water conservation on the Delhi Assembly premises as the fountains in the forecourt of the British-era legislature buildings were kept switched off while the proceedings were on inside the House on Wednesday afternoon.

The fountains sprung to life only after the proceedings ended in the evening and the MLAs started walking out of the House.

 The switching off of the fountains by the Assembly administration seemed in sync with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s  call on the floor of the House for water conservation in the parched city staring at a tough summer ahead. 

Lamba asks BJP MLAs for support
AAP legislator Alka Lamba asked BJP MLAs to join Aam Aadmi Party in seeking outstanding grant of Rs 600 crore from the Centre.

Lamba said cash-strapped municipal corporations of Delhi have not been able to pay of salaries because the Union government didn’t release the grant for local bodies.
“We should also ask for the stagnant share of Rs 325 crore in central taxes to be increased too like it has been for other states”, she added.

The AAP MLA found support in the Delhi chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
“Like Alka Lamba ji suggested, we should all go and meet the finance minister (Arun Jaitely). Tell him Congress, BJP and AAP are here, now give us money,” he said in the Assembly.

Kejri skips janata darbar for House
Kejriwal will be holding his public hearings at his official civil lines residence from next week, but had to skip Wednesday’s hearing owing to preoccupation with the Assembly session, reports PTI.

Kejriwal had been holding public interactions at his Kaushambi residence before.
“He won’t be available on Thusday and Friday as well,” a party worker said at AAP’s Kaushambi office.

In the Chief Minister’s absence, a number of party volunteers and officers tasked with handling the complaints have taken on the job of sorting the “woes of the people”.
Kejriwal is slated to shift into a four-bedroom residence at 6 Flagstaff Road, Civil Lines during the ongoing auspicious week of Navratri.

Meanwhile, party volunteers claimed that in a total of 16 public hearings till date, almost 10,000 petitioners had managed to communicate their grievances, either directly to the Chief Minister or to his associates.

Cong wants panel to probe MCDs
The Delhi Congress on Wednesday set up a seven-member panel to look into the alleged irregularities and shortcomings of all the three municipal corporations being run by the BJP.

Delhi Congress chief  Ajay Maken said the seven-member committee would submit a report to the DPCC within seven days.

Maken also said that the seven-member committee will bring out all the failures of the municipal corporations in a chargesheet.

This chargesheet will then be taken up with Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung and higher authorities for redressal.

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