The Maharashtra government has said it will probe accusations of ill-behaviour against Bhagwan Sahai, Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture.
Minister for Agriculture Pandurang Fundkar ordered an inquiry after he received complaints against Sahai from officials of the agriculture department. It has been alleged that Sahai had disallowed the department’s Joint Secretary, Rajendra Ghadge, from leaving office early for a family emergency on August 11.
In a letter to the Chief Minister, which is signed by all employees of the agriculture department, Ghadge had first approached Sahai for leaving office early around 11.30 am that day after receiving a call to attend to his son, who was threatening to commit suicide.
It is further alleged that Ghadge had approached Sahai on two other occassions – around 2.20 pm and 4.15 pm – after receiving repeated calls regarding his son’s condition, which was worsening.
The complainants have alleged that Sahai had brushed off Ghadge’s request, directing him to attend to personal matters only after office hours.
By the time Ghadge reached home after office, his son had committed suicide.
Making another serious accusation, the complainants had claimed that Sahai’s “ill behaviour” had earlier driven an agricultural department official to suicide. A senior IAS official, however, pointed out that no formal complaint had ever been lodged in the case.
On Thursday, the state administration was forced to take cognisance of the complaint after the employees union came out in support of the complainants and threatened to proceed on mass leave.
In their letter to the CM, the complainants have demanded that they should all be shifted to another department. The union, meanwhile, has demanded that Sahai be shifted out of the agriculture department and kept away from work till the inquiry against him was completed.
The complainants have also alleged that Sahai repeatedly misbehaved with his subordinates.
Despite several attempts, Sahai remained unavailable for comment.
Chief Secretary Swadheen Kshatriya said, “The employees made a representation and I’ve heard them out. We are now in the process of seeking a clarification (from Sahai).” Kshatriya also said that he would discuss the entire episode with the CM Friday as the “accusations are of serious nature”.