Move against former Chief Secretary vengeful, says Trinamool Congress

The Trinamool Congress on Tuesday came out in defence of former chief secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay describing the Centre’s proposal to hold “major penalty proceedings” against him as “wrong, unfair, and vengeful”.

“Centre’s actions are not only weakening the federal structure of the country, but also disrupting administration in West Bengal by upsetting the officers in the State so they cannot function independently,” senior Trinamool Congress leader and Lok Sabha MP Sougata Roy said.

Mr. Bandyopadhyay retired from service on May 31, 2021 and was appointed Chief Advisor to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

On June 16, the Centre issued a memorandum stating, “Sri Alapan Bandyopadhyay, IAS (Retd) (WB 1987) is hereby informed that the Central Government proposes to hold Major Penalty Proceedings against him under Rule 8 of the All-India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1969 (herein referred to as Discipline Rules), read with Rule 6 of the All-India Services (Death-cum-Retirement Benefits) Rules, 1958…”

Trinamool Congress leaders who held a press conference during the day maintained that while Mr. Bandyopadhyay would take his own decision as far the notification is concerned, the party is registering its protest.

“The former Chief Secretary is not a member of our party. What steps he will take are his own decision. But we are registering our protest.” Trinamool Rajya Sabha MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy.

Mr. Roy also added out that such “departmental enquiry” cannot be taken against a retired IAS officer, unless it is related to financial irregularities.

The Union government had on May 28 issued an order asking Mr. Bandyopadhyay to report to Delhi on grounds that and he skipped a post-cyclone review meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Kalaikunda in West Bengal. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has maintained that she along with Mr. Bandyopadhyay met the Prime Minister and sought his leave before leaving.

The Chief Minister refused to release Mr. Bandyopadhyay and appealed to the Centre to withdraw the order. However, the Centre sent another letter on May 31 directing Mr. Bandyopadhyay to report at North Block by 10 a.m. on June 1. The Chief Secretary opted to retire, even though he was already granted an extension for three months.

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