Lt Governor Najeeb Jung on Thursday returned to Delhi government the file on removal of DCW chairperson Barkha Singh seeking reasons for the proposed action even as Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal justified its stand saying these bodies should not be headed by politicians.
The development came just hours after the DCW chief met Jung and complained that the Delhi government wanted to remove her for summoning Law Minister Somnath Bharti in the south Delhi raid episode.
"The Lt Governor has returned the file to us seeking certain clarifications on why the government wants to reconstitute the DCW," a top official said.
After meeting Jung, Singh, a former Congress member of Legislative Assembly, said she was holding a constitutional post and the Delhi government does not have power to remove her. However, senior officials said as per the DCW Act, 1994, the government has the power to take such action.
"I have handed over a rule book of DCW to the Lt Governor so that he gets to know that the government cannot remove the DCW chairperson. They (Kejriwal, his Ministers) have become dictators. They are acting according to their whims and fancies," Singh said.
The Delhi government on Wednesday recommended to the Lt Governor to reconstitute the commission and proposed Hindi novelist Maitreyi Pushpa's name to head the panel.
"We want experts and non-political persons to head various commissions and boards. Politicians should not head DCW and other commissions and boards. Maitreyi Pushpa is joining on a salary of Re 1," Kejriwal said when asked about the issue
The chief minister also rejected Singh's claim that she was being removed for summoning the law minister. "This (Somnath Bharti) is not the reason for seeking removal of Barkha Singh. Bharti's trial was not going at DCW. The Lt Governor has appointed a judicial probe into the case," he said.
The government's move to seek Singh's removal came five days after she had a public spat with Bharti's lawyers when she refused to allow them to depose before the DCW on the law minister's behalf in the case related to midnight raid against African women. The minister had alleged that the women were involved in drug and prostitution racket.
Earlier this month, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president Arvinder Singh Lovely had asked all partymen to quit various posts in government-run boards and commissions following "tradition and convention".
Though a number of Congressmen resigned from their posts, Singh did not do so.
Delhi Minister Manish Sisodia said all the political appointees should have resigned on their own immediately after a new government took charge.
"The allegation that we are trying to remove Singh due to political reasons is totally wrong. We could have appointed any MLA to the post like other parties do. Pushpa is an eminent personality and she is not associated with any party," said Sisodia.
Pushpa, 69, is a Hindi fiction writer and has 10 novels and seven short story collections to her credit.
Singh also threatened to take legal recourse if she is removed by the AAP government.
"I am not going to step down as the chairperson of DCW because I still have one year and four months left in my tenure. However, if they remove me, violating rules, I will take help of the law," she said.
The DCW chairperson had summoned Bharti over allegations that he had led a group of supporters against some African women after claiming they were involved in a drug and prostitution racket.