Public memory is, unfortunately, very short. Most people may have forgotten the actual reasons behind the tiff between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) run Delhi Government and Lieutenant Governor (read Central Government). Two incidents are behind this tussle which ultimately led to Wednesday’s Supreme Court verdict, which is generally seen as a reiteration of the Constitution.
The first incident:
The first incident was an instance of illegal action/ abuse of power by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal during his first tenure as Chief Minister in January 2014. Those days the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government was at the fag end of its rule, facing a barrage of corruption allegations. One of the main corruption issues was Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Group related controversies by Congress Government’s favoritism in the Krishna-Godavari (KG) Basin gas exploration and gas pricing. The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) was under the Delhi State Government at that time and it was the Vigilance mechanism of the Delhi State Government and the KG Basin issue did not come under the domain of ACB.
But playing to the gallery, all of a sudden, Kejriwal convened a press conference and announced that he ordered a probe by the ACB on corruption allegations in KG Basin. Knowingly Kejriwal was playing out a drama/ fraud as it was an issue related to Central Government’s Petroleum Ministry and the probe agency power was with only the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The illegal FIR also accused the then Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily and Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance and as expected the illegal FR got quashed by the High Court. Here Kejriwal was literally abusing his power by issuing an illegal order.
The second incident:
In his second term as Chief Minister, around mid-2015, Kejriwal and his one time friend, the then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley started locking horns. Jaitley was aware that Kejriwal was going to fix him in the corruption in Delhi’s Cricket body DDCA. Arun Jaitley was controlling DDCA (Delhi District Cricket Association) for the past two decades and rampant money laundering and corruption was alleged by iconic cricketers Bishan Singh Bedi and BJP MP Kirti Azad. They submitted a detailed petition against Jaitley controlled DDCA and Kejriwal decided to order a probe by the ACB.
Sensing danger, obviously at the instance of Arun Jaitley, the Centre issued a gazette notification taking over the control of ACB and placed it under the Lieutenant Governor (LG).
The rest is history and in a surprise move the CBI raided Kejriwal’s office and arrested his Private Secretary and charge sheeted him for corruption. Kejriwal and AAP leaders raised a series of money laundering and corruption allegations against Arun Jaitley in running the DDCA. Though these allegations were raised by Bishan Singh Bedi & Kirti Azad, Jaitley never reacted though the cricketers challenged him many times. But he only filed a defamation case against Kejriwal and AAP leaders. In a sudden volte face, the shameless Kejriwal apologized to Jaitley! One wonders what really transpired…
After the ACB takeover by the centre, the Delhi AAP Government went to the courts alleging that the LG is usurping powers. Wednesday’s Supreme Court Order is not a specific order. It generally speaks about the position in Constitution. The Gazette notification of centre for taking over of ACB was also challenged by the AAP Government. But this matter is now with a separate Bench of the Supreme Court.
Tail Piece: During his tenure as an anti-corruption crusader, Kejriwal had declared the then Home Minister P Chidambaram as one of the most corrupt persons. Later Chidambaram landed as the lawyer of Delhi’s AAP Government by accepting hefty fees. After the judgment on Wednesday, Chief Minister Kejriwal went to his advocate Chidambaram’s home to congratulate him. Is there any word called “ethics” in the dictionary of Arvind Kejriwal? The answer is a Big NO.
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