LG vetoes AAP on lawyers’ panel to defend Delhi police in Delhi riots

In a huge setback to Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal overturned the decision of Arvind Kejriwal government to set up a panel of lawyers to represent the Delhi Police in cases linked to the Anti-Hindu riots and Anti-CAA violence in the capital.

According to reports, the Lieutenant Governor has vetoed Delhi government’s proposal on lawyers’ panel and instead constituted a six-member panel recommended by Delhi Police – which includes Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi two days after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government had rejected it.

Lt Gov Anil Baijal has reportedly invoked Article 239AA(4) of the Indian Constitution to refer the dispute to the President, citing “differences of opinion” with the elected government. The panel of lawyers chosen by the Delhi Police and approved by Lt Gov Baijal will now argue the cases before the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court.

“The L-G invoked special powers granted to him under the Constitution. The Home Department has been ordered to approve the panel chosen by the Delhi Police. The Delhi government will now have to implement the order at any cost as it is mandated by the Constitution,” a CM office statement said.

Delhi government had rejected the lawyers’ panel

Earlier, the Delhi government had rejected the panel of six public prosecutors suggested by Delhi Police to defend itself in the Anti-Hindu riots as well as anti-CAA protests in the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court.

The Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government had claimed that a ‘free and fair trial’ would not be possible if the Delhi Police itself selects a panel of lawyers to defend itself. Instead, Kejriwal government has asked state home department headed by Satyendra Jain to set up a panel of ‘impartial panel of best lawyers’ to fight the case.

The Delhi government had rejected the proposal of Delhi Police citing that the investigation was biased. The cabinet had claimed that the lawyers should be ‘independent’ of the police and the LG should not ‘interfere’ as the matter is not ‘rarest of the rare’ case.

It is important to note here that former AAP councillor Tahir Hussain is accused of being the mastermind behind the entire Anti-Hindu riots and Anti-CAA riots in the national capital. He has been charge-sheeted and accused of murder and orchestrating the riots. He has been accused of leading a mob to godown and setting it on fire.

The Delhi Police charge-sheet also states that the IB officer Ankit Sharma was specifically targeted by the mob led by AAP leader Tahir Hussain. He is also accused of masterminding the Delhi riots and funding the violence in Chand Bagh. AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan has consistently defended Hussain and alleged that he is being ‘targeted’’ for being a Muslim. Khan himself is also accused of inciting the violence in Delhi on 15th December 2019 amid the anti-CAA protests.

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