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‘Health minister demanding action but file pending with CM for 45 days’: Delhi LG accuses Arvind Kejriwal of inaction in BSA college sexual harassment case

"Even as Delhi's Health Minister Saurabh Bhardwaj has been crying foul over the alleged sexual harassment at Baba Saheb Ambedkar Medical College and demanding the removal of its principal, the file for his transfer has been held up for nearly 45 days by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal himself," LG's office stated on Thursday.

On Thursday (March 28th), Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena slammed Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal over a file pertaining to the sexual harassment case in Baba Saheb Ambedkar Medical College. The Delhi LG alleged that the file for the transfer of the accused principal has been held up for nearly 45 days.

“Even as Delhi’s Health Minister Saurabh Bhardwaj has been crying foul over the alleged sexual harassment at Baba Saheb Ambedkar Medical College and demanding the removal of its principal, the file for his transfer has been held up for nearly 45 days by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal himself,” a release issued by the LG’s office stated on Thursday.

“Saurabh Bhardwaj, in a note to LG VK Saxena on March 20, 2024, demanded the immediate removal of Ishwar Singh from his post, alleging that he was uncooperative with the girl victims in the matter and that he discouraged/demotivated them from pursuing the case further,” it added. The LG also questioned the state government’s ‘motive’, indicating the delay in deciding the removal of the accused from the position. “But what raises serious doubts over the government’s motive is the fact that the file for the removal/transfer of Ishwar Singh from Baba Saheb Ambedkar Medical College has been pending with CM Kejriwal since February 14, 2024, as the same has to be decided by the NCCSA, which is chaired by the Chief Minister. Member Secretary (NCCSA) had also sent reminders to the CM on March 7, 2024 and March 13, 2024, but to no avail,” the release mentioned.

“LG, VK Saxena, in a note to the Chief Minister, has brought out this glaring fact and lamented that neither transfer/posting nor “vigilance action on sensitive matters” could be initiated due to inaction on the part of CM Kejriwal. The LG sent the note to CM Arvind Kejriwal before his arrest on March 21, 2024,” it added.

According to the release, the LG has directed the Delhi police and the Chief Secretary to initiate disciplinary proceedings in the case.

“Considering the gravity of the case, LG has already directed the Delhi Police to expedite criminal proceedings. He has also directed the Chief Secretary to expedite disciplinary proceedings in the case,” the release added.

The LG further alleged that Minister Saurabh Bhardwaj did not consult CM Kejriwal in the case and accused him of inaction that delayed the initiation of vigilance action on ‘sensitive matters’.

“I find it pertinent to highlight that the Health Minister, in both the current note and a previous correspondence to the Chief Secretary, has requested the immediate transfer of the incumbent principal and the Head of the Department of Pharmacology. The irony lies in the fact that although the Health Minister has made a request for the transfer of the principal of BSA Medical College and Hospital, the file for his transfer has been held up by you, as the chairman of NCCSA, since February 14, 2024. Despite reminders from the Member Secretary of NCCSA, the proposal is still pending for your recommendations on the matter,” the LG pointed out, as mentioned in the release.

“It is evident from the above that the Minister has not consulted the Chief Minister in the matter. It would be prudent that any note on a significant issue be submitted to me through the Chief Minister. Due to inaction on your part, neither important transfers nor postings could be effected nor vigilance action on sensitive matters could be initiated. In view of the above, you are advised to ensure expeditious disposal of matters pending in NCCSA regarding transfer/posting as well as vigilance & non-vigilance matters for the purpose of initiating disciplinary proceedings,” the release stated

This comes after Aam Aadmi Party MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj had on 20th March written a letter to the Delhi LG demanding “urgent action” against the sexual harassment accused professor in the said case.

Bharadwaj also sought the Delhi LG to direct the Chief Secretary to take action against the college principal for allegedly pressuring students to drop their allegations.

“You would appreciate the concerns raised by the students, who would be future doctors and torchbearers of our society, regarding their safety and security,” the AAP leader stated in the letter.

As we reported earlier, on 18th March, protests were held by Mahila Nyay Samiti outside Baba Saheb Ambedkar Medical College in New Delhi on Monday against one Salim Sheikh, who works as an Assistant Professor at the college.

The protest on 18th March came after two college girls complained that they were sexually harassed by Sheikh during their MBBS viva on 31st January. The victims later filed a police complaint on 22nd February. However, the protesting organisations stated that the police did not take any action in the case.

(With inputs from ANI)

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