Govt constitutes GoM to provide legal assistance to Delhi bureaucrats
As per the proposal, GoM can take suo motu decision and also on complaints of the victim bureaucrat to extend the help.
In an unprecedented move, the Delhi Cabinet has also posed four questions over shunting out of the VAT commissioner including whether the LG threatened the officer and whether he received instructions from the PMO to transfer him.
This GoM (Group of Ministers) will be chaired by the Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and will consist of Home Minister Satyendra Jain and Transport minister Gopal Rai as members and the Principal Secretary (services) shall be the Secretary to the GoM.
Actually, a fresh controversy erupted over the Centre’s order of reliving senior IAS officer Vijay Kumar from Delhi to Lakshadweep a couple of weeks back.
The AAP-led Delhi government on Friday once again accused the LG of undue interference in its work. In a fresh attack on the Centre and LG Najeeb Jung, the Delhi Cabinet raised a couple of questions seeking the reason behind the abrupt decision of transfer of Kumar. Kumar who was serving as the VAT commissioner for the Delhi government was relieved from his duty on October 15, since then the post of VAT commissioner has been lying vacate.
In its resolution which was passed by Delhi Cabinet under the leadership of Chief Minister Kejriwal, questions were raised like — “What were those compelling circumstances which forced LG to take such an extraordinary step? Is there a connection between the raids conducted by Vijay Kumar and his abrupt relieving?” the letter read. The Kejriwal-government also accused Jung of threatening Kumar to leave Delhi without consulting the elected state government. “Several senior officers serving for Delhi government have informed that they had been summoned by the LG and were threatened of dire consequences including police action and disciplinary proceedings if they refuse to participate in the exercise of obstructing the functioning of the Delhi government,” a Delhi government spokesperson said.
“Delhi government has absolutely no problems if LG is ready to meet the aforesaid VAT collection targets. Then he can appoint officers of his choice and run the VAT department in the manner he deems fit. Government is willing to hand over the VAT department to LG, if he accepts to meet the VAT targets,” the spokesperson said. As per the information, the Delhi government has set the target of VAT collection at Rs 24,000 crore this year.
Sources said, only an officer who has reached the rank of secretary can become the VAT commissioner. “As per convention, such posts are held at least by a secretary-level officer in any state, which is equivalent to the joint secretary in the Centre. In other words, the officer needs to have attained pay band IV and a grade pay of Rs 10,000. ‘‘Going by his seniority, Garg would take another three years to reach that level,” a senior Delhi government official said.
The resolution further stated that, important projects of social infrastructure, social welfare programmes, improvement of public education and health care are all incumbent upon tax revenues.
The Kejriwal-government assured the officials of support. “Government will stand behind its officers to defend their bona fide decisions. It is the duty of every officer to not just support but also facilitate and implement all the legitimate decisions of the government. If they are pressurised by anyone in any manner, they should immediately bring it to the notice of the government,” a senior officials said.
Meanwhile, the winter session of the Delhi legislative assembly would begin from November 18, the assembly secretariat announced on Friday.