LG-AAP tension: New prisons chief declines to take charge

New Delhi, April 20 (IANS) The simmering tension between Delhi’s AAP government and the lt. governor’s office saw a senior police officer decline to accept the additional charge of Director General (Prisons) because the appointment had not been approved by Najeeb Jung.

IPS officer J.K. Sharma, who is Director General Home Guards, was on Tuesday given the additional charge of DG (Prisons) by the Delhi government’s home department.

Sharma, a 1982-batch IPS officer, went to Tihar Jail around 5 p.m. on Tuesday to take charge.

However, after spending two hours there, the officer decided to relinquish the new responsibility, citing lack of approval from “competent authority”.

In a letter addressed to the Delhi government’s Principal Secretary (Home) S.N. Sahai, Sharma wrote: “I took over the charge in addition to my own duties as Director General (Home Guards) but since the order referred to has not been issued with the approval of the competent authority, hence the charge taken over by undersigned is hereby returned to the earlier officer who was holding the charge.”

He also mentioned in the letter that he will be “happy to resume the above mentioned charge on approval of competent authority”.

However, Sharma chose to write on the letter head of “Office of the Director General Prisons, Prison Headquarter Tihar”.

The lt. governor’s Office denied having anything to do with Sharma’s sudden move.

“The home department had issued an order to appoint J.K. Sharma as DG Prisons with additional charge, but the order file has not been sent to the LG office. As the order is invalid without the LG’s approval, the officer might have realised the facts and he himsef decided not to join the new posting. It was his own decision,” the source told IANS.

In Delhi, the transfer and appointment of all gazetted officers are approved by the lieutenant governor. However, Sharma’s appointment to Tihar was signed by an additional secretary of the home department.

The country’s largest prison has been without a chief since February 28, when DG Alok Verma was made the Delhi Police Commissioner.

–IANS

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