Updated: June 21, 2021 10:03:59 pm
Locked in a tug of war with the Mamata Banerjee government over former West Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay, the Centre has initiated disciplinary proceedings against the former IAS officer, which may deprive him of post-retirement benefits.
The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has sent Bandyopadhyay, now an advisor to Bengal CM Banerjee, a “memorandum” mentioning the charges against him and giving him a 30-day period to respond with a written statement of his defence, and also stating if he desires to be heard in-person.
“Major penalty proceedings have been initiated against Bandyopadhyay as per relevant service rules,” PTI quoted an official as saying.
The June 16 memorandum sent to Bandyopadhyay, a 1987-batch IAS officer (retired) of West Bengal cadre, states that the Centre proposes to hold “major penalty proceedings” against him under Rule 8 of the All India services (Discipline and Appeal) rules, 1969, read with Rule 6 of the All India Services (Death-cum-Retirement Benefits) Rules, 1958. “The substance of the imputations of misconduct or misbehavior in respect of which the inquiry is proposed to be held is set out in the statement of Article of Charge,” it said.
The rules allow the government at the Centre to withhold “pension or gratuity, or both, either in full or in part, whether permanently or for a specified period”.
Under the said rules, the Centre can order the “recovery from pension or gratuity of the whole or part of any pecuniary loss caused to the central or a state government, if the pensioner is found in a departmental or judicial proceedings to have been guilty of grave misconduct or to have caused pecuniary loss to the central or a state government by misconduct or negligence, during his service, including service rendered on re-employment after retirement”.
On May 28, just a few days after he was granted a three-month extension from the date of his scheduled retirement on May 31, the Central government sought services of Bandyopadhyay, asking the state government to relieve him immediately with a direction to him to report at DoPT, New Delhi. The DoPT later sent him a reminder after Bandyopadhyay failed to report in response to the May 28 order.
Following this, Mamata Banerjee on May 31 announced that Bandyopadhyay has “retired” and has been appointed as her advisor for the next three years.
The Union Home Ministry had also issued a show-cause notice to Bandyopadhyay under a provision of the Disaster Management Act, which entails imprisonment for up to two years, for reporting late to a meeting on Cyclone Yaas presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The notice said Bandyopadhyay “acted in a manner tantamount to refusing to comply with lawful directions of the central government”. Bandyopadhyay’s response to this notice was received by the ministry on June 3, after which it said it was studying the reply and will decide on the action to be taken in due course.
(With inputs from PTI)
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