AAP, BJP trade charges over 'harassment' of officer

Posted on August 05, 2018 from Delhi, National ι Report #215073

New Delhi, Aug 5 (IANS) The ruling Aam Aadmi Party and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday traded charges on the issue of alleged harassment of a senior woman officer by Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot and corruption in an RTO office.

"Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his AAP have an anti-women mindset and can go to any extent to harass officials who speak up against corruption and nepotism in the Delhi government," Delhi BJP President Manoj Tiwari claimed.

He alleged that Transport Commissioner Varsha Joshi is being "harassed for seeking transparency in the Rs 2,500-crore bus deal" of the AAP government.

A question was raised in the Assembly on alleged irregularities and corruption found during a visit of Kejriwal to one of Delhi's biggest Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) in Burari.

Joshi is said to have maintained that "no corruption or irregularities were found".

Department officials alleged that Gahlot humiliated her at a meeting on Friday and refused to approve the answer that was to be submitted in the Assembly. He reportedly told Joshi to stay within limits, warning that she too could face action.

"The Minister then left the room and instructed that a memo be issued to the officer and that she should not be allowed to enter his room," claimed an official.

The BJP leader said that the "harassment" of Joshi is a part Kejriwal government's campaign to bully officials which brings to mind the case of IAS officer Shakuntala Gamlin, who too was similarly harassed after she spoke against the Delhi government.

"What else can we expect from a government which must be the only state government in the country without a woman Minister?" Tiwari questioned.

AAP Chief Spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj questioned the BJP as to why it was "patronising corruption at the Burari RTO" and if it even knew about touts operating at the transport office.

"There is a clear nexus if touts are openly roaming at the transport office and can quickly get the work done. This cannot happen without the connivance of the department officers," Bharadwaj said.

Kejriwal had inspected the Burari RTO -- where fitness certificates are issued to auto-rickshaws and other commercial vehicles -- on July 17 and observed that it had become a den of corruption.

He had said that people were complaining that their work at the office was done swiftly only through touts.