Delhi vigilance minister Atishi says officials in her dept ‘threatening’ colleagues in other wings

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New Delhi: Delhi vigilance minister Atishi Monday issued an order noting that officers from the department had been “threatening, intimidating, and harassing officers” from other government departments to make them issue “illegal orders”.

According to a copy of the order, seen by ThePrint, Atishi, who holds multiple portfolios, said that officers from other departments had mentioned that they had received repeated phone calls from certain officials in the vigilance department, asking for certain orders to be issued.

The other officers were allegedly threatened that non-compliance would result in inquiries against them, according to the minister.

Atishi said any officer working in the Delhi government who found themselves at the receiving end of such treatment should record the phone calls as well as the “threats” given during in-person meetings.

“These recordings are admissible as evidence in both disciplinary and legal proceedings. All such recordings must be submitted to the undersigned. Strongest possible action — both disciplinary and legal — shall be taken against those officers of Vigilance Department who are found to be threatening/intimidating/harassing other officers,” the minister wrote in her order.

Tussles between ministers in Delhi’s AAP-led administration and government officials are not new. Earlier this month, Delhi assembly speaker Ram Niwas Goel alleged at a press conference that some government officers were “openly threatening” other officers at the assembly secretariat with transfer and disciplinary action.

Goel noted that some of the said officers were from the services department.

Prior to this, recurring tussles were observed soon after the Centre promulgated an ordinance on 19 May, which nullified the Supreme Court’s 11 May order in favour of the AAP-led Delhi government — noting that the Union government will have control over the civil servants that work under it. The ordinance has since been given the shape of an Act.

Delhi ministers have alleged that, in light of the law, government officers have not been complying with their orders.

Atishi, in her order, said that vigilance officers were misusing their authority and power to pressure officials from other departments, instead of working towards a “clean and corruption-free administration”.

“The Vigilance Manual (2021), issued by the Central Vigilance Commission, takes a strong view against harassment or victimisation of officials under the pretext of frivolous and vexatious vigilance matters. It unambiguously states that vigilance is intended to create an environment in which the honest can work fearlessly and the corrupt are punished promptly,” said Atishi in her order.

(Edited by Nida Fatima Siddiqui)

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