'Kejri govt wanted cases withdrawn'

The Raj Niwas on Friday said that the AAP government had sought to hasten the withdrawal of 24 criminal cases against politicians, including Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and other AAP leaders, but Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung refused to do so.

In a rare media briefing by Jung’s OSD Ajay Chaudhary, the LG’s office virtually linked this to the alleged attempts by Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain to cook up a story about the Raj Niwas putting pressure on him to approve the parole application of hailed former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala.

The AAP government, however, dismissed any link between the Chautala matter and the process to withdraw five cases against Kejriwal and three cases each against Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Tourism Minister Kapil Mishra, among others including BJP and Congress leaders.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, “BJP and Cong both defending LG n Chautala. Interesting naa...”

The Delhi government issued a statement in the evening, sticking to Jain’s allegations against Jung and claiming that some important facts had been hidden by Jung’s office.
Earlier, Jung’s office described Jain’s allegation that the LG put pressure on the minister after summoning him on October 21 as “a figment of imagination”.

It said Jain met the LG that day to seek quick withdrawal of cases against politicians. Jung also hinted at Jain mixing issues related to Chautala’s two separate parole pleas received on October 9 and 28.

“The assertion on the part of the minister thathe faced pressure for granting of parole is a shocking distortion of facts and deliberate manipulation to make it a political issue and settle political scores,” Jung’s Officer on Special Duty said.

“It is obvious that the Home Minister has tried to make political capital out of this reference and has used the occasion to vent out angst at his unsuccessful attempt to push through the withdrawal of cases against AAP leaders,” the OSD said, adding that there was an apparent delay on Jain’s part to dispose of the Chautala’s plea.

About the alleged attempt to put pressure on Jain, he said: “The Home Minister had called on the Lieutenant Governor on October 21 at his own request regarding withdrawal of cases that have been registered against Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders including the cases against Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister.  This includes the case when the Chief Minister sat on dharna in front of the Rail Bhawan in 2014.”

Jain complains

The media briefing came on a day Jain wrote to Kejriwal to complain against the LG allegedly mounting pressure on him on Chautala’s parole plea. The AAP has alleged that the facts revealed Jung’s soft corner for Chautala, who is undergoing 10 years’ imprisonment in Tihar Jail in a corruption case.

The Raj Niwas said: “It is clear from the file movement that the file regarding parole of Chautala was received in Home Department on October 9. The same was kept pending by the Home Minister till October 23 and sent to CM on October 28.”

Since the period between this request and the earlier parole was less than six months, the Lieutenant Governor rejected the request on October 5 and the file was returned to the Home Department, said Chaudhary.

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