The Congress Thursday questioned the Centre over both the timing of Sujatha Singh’s removal as Foreign Secretary and the reason for the sudden move even as the ruling BJP argued that the government acted well within its right to decide on appointment of officers and denied any political motive.
“We would like to know the reasons for her sacking. The government has to come clean on this. Remember she is not the first officer to be removed in this fashion. The chiefs of the SPG and DRDO were earlier removed unceremoniously. There is a pattern in this. I would say that this is being arbitrarily done just to create a scare,” Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh told The Indian Express.
Former Union minister Manish Tewari sought to know whether Singh was sacked for taking a firm stand on the Devyani Khobragade affair. “There are certain positions in the government where a fixed tenure has been mandated to ensure stability and coherence of policies. Since NDA has curtailed the tenure of the former foreign secretary by six months, they must now give a cogent explanation for doing what they did.”
“Her removal raises several questions as it comes just two days after the US President’s visit. Is there a link between her removal and the stand she had taken in the Devyani Khobragade issue?” he asked.
Hitting back at Congress, BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli recalled the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi had sacked the then foreign secretary A P Venkateswaran publicly at a press conference in 1987. “I don’t see any reason for a hue and cry. A government is within its rights to decide how it would like to appoint which officers and with what responsibilities. And this is not the first time….. Preceding governments have taken (such) decisions,” he said.