Senior Bureaucrat Ashish More, who was removed from his post of Delhi’s Services Secretary on May 11, hours after the Supreme Court’s landmark verdict that said the Delhi government and not the Lieutenant Governor has control over the transfer and postings of bureaucrats, has sent a complaint against Delhi minister Saurabh Bharadwaj to the Chief Secretary and Lieutenant Governor alleging misbehaviour. The Aam Aadmi Party, in turn, has alleged a sinister conspiracy by the Lieutenant Governor to overturn the court decision.
Ashish More alleges that on May 16, the minister called him to his chamber, misbehaved with him, and threatened him. Mr More has demanded action from the government in this matter and appealed for security for himself.
Saurabh Bharadwaj dismissed the allegation, saying, “What could we have done even if he alleged that I physically assaulted him.” He also reiterated his charge that Mr More didn’t accept the letter sent to him by the government even though he was at his residence.
The minister pointed out that Arvind Kejriwal had on the day of the big verdict itself announced that there would be a major reshuffle of officers and those found “obstructing” public work would be removed so that better officers could be brought in.
“We decided to change the service secretary on May 11 itself, and he disappeared. He returned after a few days and started procrastinating. Finally, we sent the proposal related to this to Lieutenant Governor (LG) VK Saxena, but he hasn’t approved it yet,” Mr Bharadwaj said.
The minister said his sources have informed him that the LG is “threatening” officials on calls, directing them to keep postponing everything as the Centre will soon bring an ordinance on this (control on posting and transfer of officers).
“All our ministers will go to meet the LG today and ask him why is he not accepting the decision of the Supreme Court. Why is he not passing the file,” Saurabh Bharadwaj added.
Delhi Chief Minister and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal reiterated Mr Bharadwaj’s claims on his Twitter account.
“Why is LG sahib not obeying the SC order? Why hasn’t he signed off on the Services Secretary file for two days? It is being said that the Centre is going to reverse the SC order by bringing an ordinance next week. Is the central government plotting to overturn the SC order? Is LG Sahib waiting for the ordinance, that’s why not signing the file?” he tweeted in Hindi.
एलजी साहिब SC आदेश क्यों नहीं मान रहे? दो दिन से सर्विसेज़ सेक्रेटरी की फाइल साइन क्यों नहीं की?कहा जा रहा है कि केंद्र अगले हफ़्ते आर्डिनेंस लाकर SC के आदेश को पलटने वाली है? क्या केंद्र सरकार SC के आदेश को पलटने की साज़िश कर रही है? क्या LG साहिब आर्डिनेंस का इंतज़ार कर रहे…
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) May 19, 2023
Ashish More was issued a show-cause notice four days ago after he was asked to make way for his replacement.
Services Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj said Mr More had “unexpectedly left the Secretariat” and switched off his phone.
“Services Minister Saurabh Bhardwaj, instructed Services Secretary, Ashish More, to present a file for the transfer of a new officer to the post of Secretary of Services Department. However, Ashish More unexpectedly left the Secretariat without notifying the minister’s office, rendering himself unreachable while his phone also remained switched off,” a statement said.
Mr More has also been accused by the ministry of not being “politically neutral”.