Delhi Lt Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena has given approval to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to file a case against Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and six others over allegations that the AAP government created a Feedback Unit (FBU) under the vigilance department to collect political intelligence.
"I am of the considered view that the case requires to be further investigated by CBI deeply, after registering a regular case. I, therefore, approve the proposal of the Directorate of Vigilance to forward the request of CBI in respect of Manish Sisodia, Dy Chief Minister, Delhi to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, the Competent authority to consider granting approval for Investigation' under Sec 17A," read the order issued by the LG.
"I have perused the report of Director CBI dated on Jan 12 requesting the approval of the Competent Authority, under sec 17A of Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Act, 2018, for investigation & registering a regular case against Sh. Manish Sisodia, Dy Chief Minister, Delhi, with regard to the creation and Functioning of the Feed Back Unit referred as FBU", the order read further.
LG Saxena has observed, "From the careful perusal of the note, it can be unambiguously observed that there was a concerted effort by the state Government to create an agency that was outside it's mandate and not within the constitutional scheme of Governance. There seems to have been a well conceived attempt to establish an extraneous and parallel covert agency with overarching powers of snooping and trespass, without any legislative, judicial or executive oversight whatsoever".
"The scrutiny of such reports during the period February 2016 to early part of September 2016 shows that a substantial number of reports submitted by FBU officials related not to actionable feedback or information on corruption in any department, institutes, entities etc but related to political activities of persons, political entities and political issues touching political interest of Aam Aadmi Party, BJP or like, which was beyond the scope and ambit of functions of FBU. Thus apparently the FBU was misused by the concerned public servants for the purpose other than the one for which it was manifestly created," adds a report by the vigilance department.
As per the order, the FBU started functioning from February 2016, manned by around 17 contractual employees most of whom were retired officials of IB & Central Parliamentary Forces in non-existent posts and no approval was taken before the creation of posts for the FBU or for the recruitment made thereto, from the Lt Governor.
"It is also noted that despite being created within the Vigilance Department and mandated to be under the overall supervision of Secretary (Vigilance), as per Rule 57 of Transaction of Business Rules, on 31.05.2016, an order was issued with the approval of the Chief Minister, designating Sh. R.K Sinha, Advisor to the CM, as Joint Director and overall in-charge of FBU and of the Secret Service Fund (SSF) allotted to the FBU. As Sh. R.K Sinha directly reported to the Chief Minister, the established hierarchy was not only bypassed, but it also ensured that the FBU operates sans any administrative control or oversight. Not only this, the Secretary (Vigilance), who was the administrative head of the FBU, was also refused the copy of the reports generated by FBU. Such blatant disregard of laid down procedures to create and empower a body which neither had legislative backing or proper executive mandate, in itself was a cause for bonafide suspicion", the LG noted in his observation.
The order reads, "The analysis of CBI suggests a very disturbing scenario that brings out that, the nature of reports generated by the FBU revealed that political intelligence and issues unrelated to Vigilance, accounted for around 40% of reports generated. The records reveal that while putting in place the clandestine infrastructure for snooping, apparently over political adversaries, the Chief Minister/Dy Chief Minister deliberately disregarded the constitutional scheme of Governance".
"This needs to be viewed with grave concern, as it appears to challenge the constitutionally established order of checks & balances and constitutional mandates of various governments and its agencies. Hence, I would recommend a deep threadbare investigation into the whole matter, over and above the evidences already gathered by CBI, so as to ascertain if there existed any sinister design akin to challenging the established constitutional authority of the State by clandestinely subverting institutions and statutes, and, if so, bring to book all those involved in such activities", LG Saxena has said in the order.
( 768 Words)