17 Aug 2023 3:45 PM GMT
The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued notice on a plea moved by six PWD officials against the show cause notices issued to them by Delhi Government’s Vigilance department over alleged gross violations of rules in the renovation work undertaken at the official residence of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.Justice Chandra Dhari Singh sought response of the Delhi Government through Director...
The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued notice on a plea moved by six PWD officials against the show cause notices issued to them by Delhi Government’s Vigilance department over alleged gross violations of rules in the renovation work undertaken at the official residence of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Justice Chandra Dhari Singh sought response of the Delhi Government through Director of Vigilance, Special Secretary of Vigilance and Public Works Department while listing the matter for hearing on October 12.
Senior Advocates Salman Khurshid and Atul Nanda appearing on behalf of the PWD officials submitted that the show cause notices dated June 19 have been issued by the Vigilance department which is neither authorized nor competent to initiate the disciplinary action.
It was contended that the officials, being PWD officers, were not amenable to the jurisdiction of the Vigilance department with respect to any disciplinary proceedings.
On the other hand, Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra appearing for the PWD and Delhi Government’s Director of Vigilance, on instructions, submitted that no coercive steps shall be taken against the PWD officials till the next date of hearing.
However, the statement was objected to by the Special Secretary of Vigilance, IAS officer Y.V.V.J. Rajasekhar who also signed the show cause notices, stating that there was a prima facie case made out against the PWD officials.
It was also submitted that there was no force in the objections raised on behalf of the PWD officials that the show cause notices were issued without jurisdiction.
“Let counter affidavit be filed within four weeks on behalf of respondent no. 1, 2 and 5. Rejoinder, thereto if any, be filed within two weeks thereafter,” the court said.
In their plea, the PWD officials have submitted that the impugned show cause notices is an outcome of the “political tussle” between the Lt. Governor and the ruling Aam Aadmi Party and that they have been made scapegoat in the matter.
“It is pertinent to mention here that the Respondent no. 2 was divested of all his duties by the Delhi Vigilance Minister in the month of May 2023 on the charges of corruption and extortion. However, after the Ordinance was passed establishing the National Capital Civil Services Authority, the Respondent No. 2 was reinstated vide order dated 22.05.2023 and thereafter on 19.06.2023, the impugned show cause notice has been issued by the respondent no. 2. The above itself proves that the impugned notice has been issued in furtherance of political witch hunt and the Petitioner has been made the scapegoat,” the plea states.
It further adds that the impugned notices “unfairly singled out and targeted” the PWD officials inspite of the fact that all the work was undertaken by them for the official residence of the Chief Minister under the instructions of the concerned PWD minister and not for their personal gain.
“The impugned notice smells of bias against the Petitioner. The Petitioner has not violated any rule, statute or office orders. The work undertaken by the Petitioner with regard to the official bunglow of the CM of GNCTD was in full discharge and in due course of his official duties. The Petitioner followed the instructions of the Hon'ble Minister of PWD, GNCTD and have consistently performed his duties under his vigilant supervision,” the plea reads.
Title: Ashok Kumar Rajdev & Ors. v. Government of NCT of Delhi Through Directorate of Vigilance & Ors.
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