Delhi government accuses LG of coercing officials, forms ministers’ panel

New Delhi, Oct 23 (IANS) Accusing Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung of “browbeating” senior officers into “paralysing” the AAP government, the latter on Friday announced the setting up of a panel of three ministers to “protect bureaucrats from political victimisation”.

The decision to constitute the Group of Ministers, which would be chaired by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, was taken at a cabinet meeting on Friday, an official statement said.

The Aam Aadmi Party government said the panel – including ministers Satyendra Jain and Gopal Rai – shall be authorised to take all steps required to protect officers, including providing legal support to them, at government cost.

The AAP government and Jung don’t see eye to eye on a host of issues, with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal accusing Jung of sabotaging the city administration at the behest of the Centre.

The Kejriwal government said Jung had threatened several senior officers with dire consequences, including police action, “if they refuse to partake in the exercise of obstructing the functioning of the Delhi government”.

The government said the LG warned that if bureaucrats did not toe his line their careers would be “destroyed”.

“These officers were told to paralyse the elected AAP government by making adverse and obstructionist file notings against government decisions”.

It also said that Jung’s “intimidating and coercive tactics” had intensified over the last one month and he was “misusing the names of top officials of the central government to pressurise the officers to act in an illegal manner”.

“The cabinet is aghast to learn of these developments. This is a clear attempt to subvert the functioning of a democratically elected government which had come to power with a thumping majority.”

The government said it was behind all officers and would even extend legal aid if they were pressurised by anyone.

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