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Kejriwal challenges Centre to go to court to stop work of DDCA probe panel

NEW DELHI(PTI): The Centre has declared as “unconstitutional and illegal” setting up of a Commission of Inquiry into the DDCA affairs by Delhi Government, triggering a fresh round of confrontation with the AAP dispensation as a defiant Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asserted that the probe will go ahead.

Arvind Kejriwal

A letter issued by the Lt Governor’s office said the Home Ministry has held that a notification issued by the Vigilance Department of Delhi Government to set up the inquiry commission has no legal effect. Reacting sharply, Kejriwal said the commission will continue its probe even after it was declared illegal by Home Ministry, insisting that it was appointed in accordance with law and the Constitution He asked the Lt Governor, Ministry of Home Affairs and the Prime Minister’s Office to approach the judiciary in case they are “aggrieved” with the panel that was formed through a notification on December 22 last year.

“DDCA enquiry commission set up by Delhi Govt is as per law and constitution of India. Centre’s opinion not binding on Del govt. Commission will continue work. If LG or MHA or PMO aggrieved, they may approach Court. Only a court order can stop commission’s work (sic),” Kejriwal, who is in Kolkata, said in a series of tweets. Echoing Kejriwal’s views, his deputy Manish Sisodia said the “city government is not subordinate of the central government”. The Centre’s decision to declare the inquiry as “unconstitutional and illegal” may be an opinion and they are free to move court to scrap the commission, he said.

The letter issued by LG’s office said the “Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has accordingly held that the notification… issued by the Directorate of Vigilance, Government of NCT of Delhi, is unconstitutional, illegal and therefore has no legal effect.” The AAP, in separate reaction, claimed the Centre wanted to “save” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and was trying to ensure his “role” during his tenure as head of the cricket body was not exposed.

The party has been accusing Jaitley of wrong doings during his tenure as DDCA chief. The Union Finance Minister had rubbished the allegations and filed criminal and civil defamation cases in a city court against Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders for making “baseless allegations.

The rejection of Delhi government’s decision to probe the affairs of Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) comes on top of a bitter fight between the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government and the Centre after the raid on the Delhi Secretariat a month ago. The raid had stoked a clash between the two with Kejriwal alleging that it was meant to seize some files purportedly containing details of alleged corruption in DDCA when Jaitley was its president between 1999 and 2013.

Kejriwal followed up the charge with his government’s decision to constitute a probe under the Commission of Inquiry Act headed by former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium, who has contended that Delhi government has the authority to constitute such a probe and he would go ahead with it.

As the fight continued, the central government on Wednesday sent a communication that “the elected Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi is neither the Central Government nor the State Government within the meaning of Section 2 and 3 of the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952. Therefore, it has no jurisdiction or power to set up a Commission of Inquiry under the said Act.” The Union Ministry of Home Affairs came to the conclusion after considering the provisions in Art 239 and 239 AA and read with provisions of General Clauses Act including the Government of India notification of August 1966.

The communication, which was sent to LG, said, “The council of Ministers (Delhi Government) may please be apprised accordingly, and all concerned be advised to act in conformity with the above decision of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.” The AAP government had on December 22 issued a notification to set up a Commission of Inquiry to probe alleged financial irregularities in the DDCA.

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