Thursday, Aug 11, 2022

Rift Widens Between Delhi Govt And Officials, CM's Adviser Goes On Medical Leave

Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash today attended Cabinet meeting for the first time after the 'manhandling' incident

File Photo

Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash today attended a Cabinet meeting, his first since the alleged assault on him by AAP MLAs, after asking Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to ensure that officers are not attacked physically or verbally.

The chief minister's adviser V K Jain, who was questioned by police in connection with the alleged assault on Prakash at Kejriwal's residence on February 19, proceeded on a week's medical leave.

"The chief minister's adviser has gone on week-long medical leave. He has not been attending office since the alleged assault on the chief secretary," sources told PTI.

Delhi Police told a court last week that Jain had disclosed during interrogation that he saw MLAs Prakash Jarwal and Amanatullah Khan surrounding the chief secretary and assaulting him at the chief minister's residence that night.

However, Jain had previously said he had not seen anything as he had gone to the washroom at the time of the incident.

Hours before the Cabinet meeting today, Prakash wrote to Kejriwal saying he would attend to discuss important budget matters and asked him to ensure "no physical attack and verbal assault" on officers.

The Delhi cabinet decided that the budget session of the Assembly would be held from March 16-28.

"A meeting of the Council of Ministers has been scheduled (today) to discuss important matters of finalisation of dates for the Budget Session of the Delhi Legislative Assembly," Prakash said.

"Since finalising the dates of the Budget Session and passing of the budget are important for the functioning of government, I along with officers concerned, will be attending the meeting," he said.

Prakash said he hoped that proper decorum would be maintained and dignity of officers would be protected during the meeting.

In another development, a Delhi court refused to grant bail to AAP legislator Prakash Jarwal who was arrested in connection with the alleged assault on Prakash.

Officers in the national capital, including those belonging to the IAS, DANICS and DASS cadre, are communicating with ministers only in writing since February 19.

A joint forum of Delhi government employees passed a resolution, saying officers associated with the budget have attended the Cabinet meeting in the interest of the people.

However, it has decided to continue only written communications with ministers and maintain five minutes of silence at 1.30 pm, during lunch time every day till Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia tender a written apology

"Delhi government employees will continue to work through formal written means of communication and continue their protest in the form of a five-minute silence at 1.30 pm during lunch time in all government offices till a specific written and public apology is tendered by the chief minister and the deputy chief minister," Pankaj Kumar, a member of the forum, said in a press meet.

"Steps are being taken to ensure the personal safety and dignity of officers while they discharge their official duties," he said.