NEW DELHI: Triggering another row, the Centre has declared the Commission of Inquiry constituted by the Delhi government to probe alleged irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), “unconstitutional and illegal”. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal hit back, arguing the commission was set up as per law and the Constitution and claimed the Centre’s opinion was “not binding” on his government.
A letter from Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung’s office on Thursday said, “The Union Home Ministry has held the notification issued by the Directorate of Vigilance, Government of NCT of Delhi, unconstitutional and illegal, and therefore, has no legal effect.”
The rejection of the Delhi government’s decision to probe the DDCA affairs comes on top of a bitter fight between the Kejriwal-led AAP government and the Centre after the CBI raid on the Delhi Secretariat last month. The raid led to a clash between the two, with Kejriwal alleging it was meant to seize some files purportedly containing details of alleged corruption in DDCA when Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was its president between 1999 and 2013.
Kejriwal followed up the charge with his decision to constitute a probe under the Commission of Inquiry Act, headed by former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium, who has contended that the Delhi government has the authority to constitute such an investigation. As the fight between the two governments continued, the Centre 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 MHA came to the conclusion after considering the provisions in Art 239 and 239 AA (read with provisions of General Clauses Act including the Government of India notification of August 1966). The communication, which was sent to the L-G, 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.”
However, Kejriwal asked the L-G, the Home Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office to approach the judiciary if they were “aggrieved” with the panel. In a series of tweets, he said: “DDCA Inquiry commission set up by Delhi Government is as per law and Constitution of India. Centre’s opinion not binding on Delhi government.” He said the panel will continue its work.