gnoring chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s request not to transfer senior IAS officers serving in the Delhi government, the Union Home ministry on Monday ordered VAT (value-added tax) commissioner Vijay Kumar to take charge of his new assignment as the administrator of Lakshadweep.
Secretary to Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, SCL Das, on Monday issued the relieving orders to Kumar, signalling a fresh round of confrontation between the Aam Aadmi Party government and the Centre. Jung reports to the home ministry.
Besides Kumar, four other IAS officers of the AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory) cadre, including former Delhi home secretary Dharam Pal, who has been sent on central deputation, were relieved of their duties.
The appointment of Dharam Pal as home secretary had then triggered a turf war over administrative jurisdiction between the L-G’s office and the Arvind Kejriwal government. The Aam Aadmi Party criticised the decision to transfer Kumar and accused the Centre of being ‘vindictive’ and acting against the spirit of “much-talked about co-operative federalism of the Narendra Modi government”.
“The chief minister wrote to the Centre in July, requesting it to reconsider the decision to transfer IAS officers serving in Delhi government, at least those handling important departments. Kumar was handling the crucial VAT department and had taken some innovative measures over the past three months to increase the government’s revenue,” a senior AAP functionary said.
“On one hand, the prime minister talks about practising cooperative federalism but refuses to honour a specific demand of a chief minister. We are certain that Kumar has been transferred under pressure from the traders’ lobby, which had been facing the heat from the department pursuing measures to ensure self-compliance and create deterrence,” the official added.