Manish Sisodia replaces Kapil Mishra as Delhi's law minister

Mail Today Bureau   New Delhi     Last Updated: September 2, 2015  | 16:39 IST
Manish Sisodia
Delhi's Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has been given the additional charge of the law ministry.

The Law department in the Arvind Kejriwal government widely seen as being 'jinxed' as Delhi got its third law minister in six months.

In a yet another reshuffle, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday took away the Law Ministry from Kapil Mishra and handed over the additional charge to his deputy Manish Sisodia.

The development came days after Mishra recommended to file a First Information Report (FIR) against former chief minister Sheila Dikshit in an alleged scam of Rs 400 crore. Mishra was appointed the law minister after Jitendra Singh Tomar was arrested in a fake degree case in June this year.

The decision to handover the law ministry to Sisodia was taken in a meeting chaired by Kejriwal. Sisodia will be the third law minister in the six-month old Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government.

The AAP government's law ministry has been mired in controversies ever since it came to power in December 2013. The government, however, ruled out any controversy behind removal of Mishra from the portfolio.

On Friday, Mishra had written an emotional letter to Kejriwal expressing apprehension that he might be removed from his chair after recommending criminal proceeding against Dikshit.

"Since the day I have joined AAP, I have seen many of our workers losing their jobs, livelihoods and even life in this fight against corruption. This is a big scam and I am afraid that immediately after this expose, there will be attempts to destabilise our government in Delhi and also to remove me from this chair," Mishra had said.

He had submitted the report of a fact finding committee on Water Tanker Distribution Management System which, he claimed, pointed towards the role of Dikshit and others in Rs 400 crore water tanker scam. Government sources said the view was that a harsh hand was required in a sensitive department like law and hence Kejriwal decided to hand over the additional charge to Sisodia.

Law will be the 12th department to be handled by Sisodia who has crucial portfolios like education, finance and urban development, among others. He has been presiding over important meetings in absence of the chief minister.

Law Ministry has proved to be the most controversial portfolio in AAP government. During the first tenure of the Arvind Kejriwal government, then law minister Somnath Bharti was embroiled in the Khidki Extension raid case involving an African women. Tri Nagar MLA Jitendra Singh Tomar was made the Law Minister when Kejriwal returned as the Chief Minister for a second time.

However, Tomar's tenure was also short lived. The AAP faced a major embarrassment after Tomar was arrested by Delhi Police in a fake degree case following which he resigned as the law minister. This was followed by induction of Kapil Mishra in the Kejriwal government who was given the Law, Tourism and water portfolio.

Mishra however will continue to hold the charges of Tourism and Water departments. "He has a lot of work with these departments and will be discharging duties accordingly," a government official said.

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