New Delhi: Lieutenant Governor (L-G) Anil Baijal has intervened in the ongoing tussle between the bureaucracy and the political leadership in Delhi and asked the state government to take steps to remove mistrust with government employees.
During a meeting with chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues on Friday, Baijal said smooth functioning of the government must continue and governance should not get affected after officers began boycotting meetings called by ministers.
“Met Hon’ble CM @ArvindKejriwal and his cabinet colleagues. Strongly condemn the recent unfortunate incidents. Advised elected government to take steps to remove mistrust with government employees so that development of Delhi is not affected. No place for violence in democracy," LG said on Twitter after the meeting. This is the first time that the LG has spoken publicly on the issue.
The meeting was attended by Kejriwal along with deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and five cabinet ministers.
Chief secretary Anshu Prakash was allegedly assaulted at a midnight meeting held at Kejriwal’s official residence on Monday. A police team on Friday visited the residence of the chief minister to collect evidence including CCTV footage, in connection with the case. Members of AAP say that the police entered without any intimation.
“Officers not attending meetings for last three days… Governance suffering… I’m very concerned. LG assured he will take all steps to ensure officers started functioning normally. Council of ministers assured him all cooperation. All of us need to work together for betterment of Delhi," Kejriwal said.
Indian administrative service associations from Delhi, and Andaman and Nicobar Islands as well as subordinate services of the Delhi government had announced that they would boycott all meeting called by ministers of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) led government in Delhi. A delegation of Delhi officers also met Jitendra Singh, minister of state in the Prime Minister’s office, to submit a memorandum of demands.
“We informed him (LG) that over the past few days officers were not attending meetings and ignoring calls of the ministers. Both LG and CM have said that they will speak to the officers. We are grateful that the LG is seeing the entire episode from the point of view of Delhi’s governance," Sisodia said, while addressing a press conference after the meeting.
He added that the incidents from that day are being given a wrong merit and investigations are underway by the police and the matter is being taken up in court.
The Delhi Police has so far arrested two members of the legislative assembly—Amanatullah Khan and Parkash Jarwal in connection with the alleged assault.
“We had asked for the CCTV camera footage and hard disk on 20 February itself but there was no response. So, we decided to come down and examine it," additional DCP (North) Harendra Singh said. Singh also said that the person in-charge of maintenance at the chief minister’s residence had been intimated about the police visit.
The police found a time lag of 40-43 minutes with respect to the time of the alleged incident in the cameras and no CCTV camera in the room where the alleged incident happened during the meeting.
PTI contributed to this story.