state news

Centre asks Delhi government to cancel appointments of 9 ministerial aides

The Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government called it a diversionary tactic, pointing out that only three of the nine were still in advisory roles.

The Delhi government on Tuesday cancelled the appointments of nine ministerial advisers after the Union Home Ministry said the Centre had not approved the creation of any such posts. However, the government denied claims that it had not taken the Centre’s approval. It also said only three of the nine advisers still held the posts with the approval of Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, The Indian Express reported.

“The Centre is misleading the public and the media through this order,” Deputy Chief Minister Sisodia said. “Their only target is [government adviser] Atishi Marlena, who is giving the government these services for an honorarium of just Re 1 per month, which is a matter of pride for us.”

The Delhi government said it had received a letter from the Union Home Ministry on April 10, saying that posts such as advisers and consultants to various ministries were not approved by the Centre. The letter said that the creation of services and posts under the Delhi government was a subject reserved for the Centre, according to a 2015 notification. The letter listed the names of nine people appointed to such posts by the state government, including Aam Aadmi Party spokespersons Atishi Marlena and Raghav Chadha.

After receiving the letter, the Delhi government’s General Administration Department issued an order on Tuesday cancelling the nine appointments. The posts include media advisers to the law minister and the deputy chief minister, an adviser to the finance minister and consultants for the power minister.

Chadha said he had held the post he was being “sacked” from only for 45 days, two years ago. He accused the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre of using the order as a tactic to divert attention from incidents of rape and the cash crunch in ATMs in several states.

“An opportune time to rake up non-issues with AAP like retrospective sacking for a post I held for 45 days in 2016 for a paltry sum of Rs 2.50,” Chadha wrote on Twitter.

He also posted a letter written by Sisodia’s office to the Centre in January 2016, seeking approval for the advisory post created for him. In the letter, the office wrote that Chadha would hold the post only between January 15, 2016 and March 31, 2016 to assist with the preparation of the state Budget, and would get an honorarium of Re 1 per month.

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