New Delhi: AAP government is acting in a "preconceived manner" and creating an "unnecessary impasse" in order to prevent Delhi's Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) from functioning in accordance with law, the Centre told Delhi High Court on Wednesday.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said this in an affidavit before a single judge bench of Justice V P Vaish on an application filed by Delhi government seeking directions against the ACB to receive a complaint from the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) and register FIR to probe graft charges against a DDA employee.
The bench took the affidavit on record and posted the matter for further hearing on September 9 along with other similar cases.
In the detailed affidavit, the Centre sought rejection of the AAP government application terming it as "misonceived" and "frivolous". It also denied the allegations levelled in the application.
"It is stated that petitioner is acting in a preconceived manner in order to prevent the ACB Delhi to function in accordance with law," the Centre's reply said.
It said the ACB was bound to act in accordance with the law and cannot expand its juridiction suo motu and start registering complaints with respect to employees who are not officials of Delhi government, as it would violate the scheme of the Constitution and the Centre's notification.
"It is reiterated that the petitioner (AAP government) is creating an unneccassary impasse in the function of the ACB. The Respondent (Centre) is committed to maintenance of law and order and to eradicate corruption from the system, however, it has to be done in accordance with law," the affidavit filed by the MHA said.
It claimed that Director (Vigilance) S K Jain has circulated a letter of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, directing that all the directions of Lieutenant Governor (LG) Najeeb Jung with respect to ACB be ignored and that the orders passed by anti-corruption unit chief M K Meena are invalid and without authority.
The Ministry also said SDM has no power to proceed and apprehend employees of Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on an alleged complaint and was not a person authorised to initiate any action or issue warrant under provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.
It further said that DDA was under the control of
Ministry of Urban Development and not under the Delhi government and therefore ACB has no jurisdiction under the provision of Prevention of Corruption Act in view of the Centre's May 21 notification.
AAP government had earlier said that the ACB came directly under its Vigilance Department as per presidential rules and the vigilance secretary headed the department.
It had said that ACB chief M K Meena was not reporting to the vigilance department or its secretary.
On July 29, the court had issued notice to the Centre on a plea of Delhi government seeking directions to ACB "to receive the complaint from the SDM, register an FIR and carry out investigation in accordance with law."
The plea had alleged that Meena had "prevented the receipt of the complaint sought to be submitted by SDM and the registration of an FIR thereupon, by orchestrating the removal of the FIR book and the 'Roznamcha' from the precincts of the ACB which is a police station under...CrPC and is wholly illegal Act".
The face-off between the LG and Kejriwal's government has resulted in the ACB now having two chiefs.
It all began on June 8, when Joint Commissioner Meena took charge of ACB after he was appointed by LG, superseding Additional Commissioner S S Yadav. Yadav had been hand-picked by Delhi government for the post.