Hearing excuses over delays in work, newly appointed Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena held a meeting with top Delhi government officials where he asked them to clear files pending since 2016 including corruption complaints against a few officials.
Much to the surprise of many, the Delhi LG called department heads and instructed the Delhi chief secretary to clear pending cases.
In just two months, Saxena has initiated action against 21 officials including Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDMs), additional district magistrate (ADMs), one MLA along with officials from the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).
This is not all, many more files are lying on his table which will get cleared in the coming days.
People close to the LG told News18 that he was also surprised at the number of pending files. “The LG has told everyone either he will be on site visits or clear files in the office,” an official close to Vinai Kumar Saxena said.
These files required nothing but an approval from the LG.
The revenue department has seen maximum clearance of corruption files followed by the MCD.
“The LG in a meeting held in the second week after he joined fumed over the delay and modus operandi of officials facing corruption charges. The LG asked all officials to hand him over such files and promised that with no delay, files would get cleared,” a senior official who attended the meeting told News18.
With the MCD elections due this year, officials are suspecting that it would not be easy for the LG to sustain the “clean up” drive due to alleged political interference and deep-rooted corruption.
Although sources in the LG office say that he has recently transferred a few senior officials out of Delhi who were in the city for more than their tenure. “It has been clarified that officials have to move out of Delhi and no request would be entertained. Few senior officials have been thrown out of the MCD to various other UTs who were reluctant to go. The LG showed no mercy in speeding up the process of transfers,” sources said.
But a few officials said they feel that it is too early to say anything as things might get tough for the LG to act.
“Delhi has been a power capital and the LG enjoys the main powers to run this capital. But there will be massive political interference and pressure from both sides while dealing with the AAP-run Delhi government and BJP-run MCD. There is a very long pendency waiting for approval of LG to initiate action against officials facing corruption charges, clearing of these files may see some tussle at all levels,” said a senior IAS official in Delhi.
The LG has so far taken action against Nitin Jindal (DANICS) Additional District Magistrate (ADM) North, Revenue. The LG has approved the initiation of major penalty proceedings and recommended suspending him. Jindal has been facing allegations of illegally transferring the forest department land located in village Jindpur under north district to private individuals in March 2021.
Another official facing the heat is Mukul Manrai, former deputy secretary in Delhi CM’s office, Revenue Department. The LG approved an investigation against him for charges of bribery by the ACB. He has been charged with demanding a bribe from a civil defense volunteer in lieu of certifying his attendance register.
Prakash Chand Thakur (Adhoc DANICS), deputy secretary in CM’s office, is facing allegations of criminal connivance with private individuals/entities passed orders giving away ownership of government land (vested in GoI for being evacuee property) for apparent pecuniary benefits in return. Prima facie, procedural lapses were found in all three cases which indicated financial irregularities.