THE PUNJAB and Haryana High Court has summoned Punjab Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh in a case where the court has put a retired IAS officer from Punjab in the dock for floating a company when she was holding the post of chairperson of the Punjab State Infrastructure Regulatory Authority in 2012. The former IAS officer is currently also heading the Punjab State Scheduled Castes Commission.
“We are not satisfied with the affidavit of Karan Avtar Singh, chief secretary, government of Punjab. He is directed to be present in court to explain the question/query put to him. Adjourned to 31.5.2019,” the division bench of Justices Rakesh Kumar Jain and Harnaresh Singh Gill said in an order.
The court had earlier asked the chief secretary to explain whether a person who is holding a statutory post can float a private limited company or become a director in a limited company, specially when they are drawing a salary from the public exchequer. Despite repeated opportunities, the State has not been able to present a clear answer before the court.
The issue of possible conflict of interest was taken note of by the court earlier this year in a petition filed by retired IAS officer Tejinder Kaur. She had approached the high court against the suspension of her Director Identification Number (DIN) by the Centre on account of non-submission of financial statements for a continuous period of three years.
The court on January 18 had asked Kaur’s counsel to explain how despite being a government servant, she floated the company ‘Doctor Aapke Ghar Private Ltd.’ and asked whether there was any conflict of interest.