Punjab Finance Department has once again objected to a proposal re-sent to it by the state’s Home department which pushed for having a retired IAS as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) with Advocate General Atul Nanda. The objection comes despite Home Department’s note asking Finance to “reconsider” the proposal as “the CM has also desired it”.
Sources told The Indian Express on Thursday that Finance Department had again declined to give its nod to the proposal while emphasising that the Home Department did not categorically respond to its observations and objections.
The fresh proposal, a senior official from the Finance Department said, was put before “Finance Minister Manpreet Badal after the minister returned from abroad and the minister did not give approval to the proposal”.
The official added that the post of OSD to AG was created by previous SAD-BJP government at the fag end of its tenure and in the first meeting after Amarinder Singh took over as Chief Minister, Punjab government had decided that administrative departments will review the decisions taken by previous government in its last six months.
Finance Department, the official said, had asked Home department to clarify on the issue citing the same reason.
He added that the Finance Department also made observations regarding already existing staff at AG’s office while seeking to know the rationale behind having an OSD. “Instead of categorically responding to the objections by Finance Department, the Home Department sent a revised proposal last week. It has been turned down again with same observations and objections,” said the official. In its revised proposal, Home pushed for appointment of retired IAS officer Prithi Chand as OSD to Nanda for at least one year. Home Department while resending the proposal, prepared a note saying that the OSD would “act as a bridge between the team of his law officers and the government officers concerned whose cases are to be defended by the law officers”.
“CM has also desired that we may agree to the request of AG. Accordingly, Finance Department is requested to reconsider and concur the proposal for at least a period of one year,” the note read.
Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Nirmaljeet Singh Kalsi was not available for comment. Nanda had distanced himself from the note, when contacted last week, saying “I have dropped the proposal. I have nothing to do with what Home Department does.”