Barely 24 hours before Arvind Kejriwal sat on a protest with Tejaswi Yadav and other political leaders at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar demanding a ‘death sentence for the accused and for the political figures defending him (prime accused)’ in the horrific Muzaffarpur rape case, one of his key minister Kailash Gahlot allegedly misbehaved with a woman IAS officer and Transport Secretary Varsha Joshi, in his office. Gahlot also insulted her in presence of 30 subordinates, allege a memorandum released by the joint forum of the association of transport department.

The memorandum reads, “The officers and staff had observed such misbehaviour by the present set of political bosses on earlier occasions also but refrained from taking action with the expectation that the conduct of the political bosses may improve with the passage of time”. But clearly, it did not. This is a stark reminder of the incident when Delhi chief secretary Anshu Prakash was allegedly roughed up by AAP MLAs at CM Arvind Kejriwal’s residence. Something that saw an unprecedented thaw between the Delhi government and its bureaucrats.  

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But this time around, the allegations are far more serious and if proven in a court of law, can turn out to be a big scam of the Kejriwal Sarkar, a government that rode to power on an anti-corruption plank. 
“…the background of this insult of secretary is directly connected to the proposals of this Government regarding procurement of buses”, reads the memorandum that is in possession of MyNation. It alleges Varsha Joshi was deliberately kept out of the cabinet meeting held on July 10 this year for engaging 1000 electric buses on the streets on the national capital. Sources say Joshi wanted a Detailed Project Planning (DPR) for this project to bring transparency since it was worth a whopping Rs 2500 crore. But the AAP government was clearly not in the mood. 

The memorandum further alleges, “It is widely believed that the minister has proposed engagement of buses by DTC from M/S JBM without any tender which is told to be vehemently objected by Joshi. The engagement of buses from an unknown company for a project of 2500 crores in itself highly objectionable and therefore, her objections should have been accepted in true spirit.”

In other words, the Kejriwal government allegedly favoured a company over others by not going for a tender which is the standard procurement way and when Joshi objected, transport minister Kailash Gahlot lost his cool. MyNation reached out to Aam Admi Party for a reaction but until the time of publication, there was no reply.

A brief history of AAP vs Babus:

June 2018: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and his three cabinet colleagues sat on a dharna at Raj Niwas for days, overstrike by IAS officers that the later said never happened

Feb 2018: AAP Uttam Nagar MLA, Naresh Balyan in a public meeting said officers who block work should be beaten up, in presence of Kejriwal

Early 2018: AAP MLAs from Okhla and Deoli allegedly assaulted Delhi chief secretary Anshu Prakash in a midnight meeting

In 2015,
the AAP government asked all bureaucrats to get out of their ‘air-conditioned chambers’ 

In 2015, the AAP government had opposed the appointment of senior IAS officer Shakuntala Gamlin as the acting Delhi Chief Secretary

The memorandum has been signed by at least 20 members demanding an apology from the minister. But beyond the realm of behaviour by a minister towards one of his senior-most officers, this two-page memorandum has stirred up a hornet’s nest. Though still at a stage of an allegation, it raises some very uncomfortable questions nevertheless. Why can’t AAP ministers behave properly with a lady officer? Is it true that she was not allowed in the cabinet meeting on electric buses because she was demanding transparency? Why would a party that rode to power on the anti-graft plank spearheaded by Anna Hazare oppose tender in government procurements? And most importantly, has Arvind Kejriwal lost the plot?