12 indicted officials may get away with a slap on the wristhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/12-indicted-officials-may-get-away-with-a-slap-on-the-wrist/

12 indicted officials may get away with a slap on the wrist

Action cannot be taken against five of them since they retired more than 5 yrs ago

Even as the Maharashtra government has announced it will initiate departmental action against the 12 bureaucrats named in the Adarsh Commission of Inquiry report,most of them are likely to get away with punishments that are “minor in nature.”

Moreover,the state may find it difficult to frame charges against at least five out of the nine retired officials because they retired more than four years ago. As per IAS rules,charges against a retired official have to be framed by the department concerned within four years of the date of retirement.

Sources in the General Administration Department (GAD) said the three officials still in service – Pradeep Vyas,Jairaj Phatak and I A Kundan – are likely to face action ranging from minor to major penalties. Minor penalty includes cancellation of up to two increments while major penalty can mean pay reduction,demotion,removal from current office held and lastly suspension.

While Vyas (who was the finance secretary) and Phatak (who was the BMC chief) were named by the CBI in their FIR,arrested and subsequently suspended,they are likely to face a salary cut. Suspended officials are paid 50 per cent of the basic salary and the dearness allowance.

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An official in the chief minister’s office said Kundan (who was the island city collector at the time) may face action based on the charges framed against her.

Out of the 12 bureaucrats,nine are retired. Of these nine,those who retired more than four years ago are Ramanand Tiwari (former additional chief secretary in charge of urban development department),Subhash Lalla (former secretary to chief minister),D K Sankaran (former chief secretary),T Chandrashekhar (former MMRDA chief who resigned in 2008) and Suresh Joshi (former MMRDA chief).

Tiwari and Lalla have been named in the FIR by the CBI.

In case of retired officials,the action that can be taken by the state ranges from cut in pension to cancellation of pension,the maximum being non-payment of gratuity along with cancellation of pension.

P V Deshmukh (former deputy secretary of the UDD),C S Sangitrao (former secretary to CM Vilasrao Deshmukh) and T C Benjamin (former UD secretary) and Umesh Luktuke (former chief town and country planner of MMRDA) are those who retired less than four years ago.

Even as action on the part of the government seems difficult,the entire process of framing the charges itself is long. A senior official in the GAD said the charges are first made out by the department concerned and then sent to the GAD,which forwards it to the Chief Minister who is the competent authority.

The CM appoints an inquiry officer who verifies evidence provided by the department and gives officials a chance to defend themselves. This report is sent back to the GAD,then to the CM then to Government of India,which consults UPSC. Finally,the Department of Personnel Training sends it to the President who takes the final call.