LG orders closure of AAP's 'spy unit'

LG orders closure of AAP's 'spy unit'

LG orders closure of AAP's 'spy unit'

The AAP-led Delhi government has faced embarrassment just ahead of the bypoll and municipal elections, with the Lieutenant Governor ordering the shutting down of a ‘spy unit’ that was set up by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

LG Anil Baijal’s action comes against the backdrop of a CBI probe into the setting up of the ‘feedback’ unit with secret funds, which many labelled as a spy unit, against norms and the misuse of public money.

According to the 2016-17 Budget, the state government had set aside Rs 1 crore for the unit. It was tasked with “gathering relevant information and actionable feedback” about officials and departments under the Delhi government, besides “laying traps to catch bribe-taking bureaucrats”.

However, there were allegations that the unit was also asked to spy on journalists and others as well.

Around 20 retired intelligence officials and others were recruited to the unit. Of these, around half-a-dozen had quit last month even before Baijal scrapped the unit. Initially, the plan was to have a 49-member team.

A preliminary inquiry by the CBI revealed that recruitment norms were not followed in the appointments.

Though the unit was set up under the vigilance department, it functioned directly under the control of the chief minister’s office, sources said.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, however, defended the setting up of the unit, saying every state should have such a mechanism.

“The government should communicate with people and get a feedback. I don’t think there is anything wrong in it,” he said.