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Jharkhand serves notice to ex-CS over ‘violent gestures’

Das went on to suggest that accountability of IGs, DIGs and SPs had to be fixed unlike before

Written by Deepu Sebastian Edmond , Santosh Singh | Patna |
January 23, 2015 1:55:30 am

Sajal Chakraborty, a 1980-batch Jharkhand-cadre IAS officer who has been removed as the state chief secretary, perhaps did not fit in into new Chief Minister Raghubar Das’s scheme of things. However, his transfer wasn’t part of the usual bureaucratic overhaul that follows a regime change.

Das had called a meeting of top state IAS and IPS officers, where he talked to them for a long time on how the government needed to remove security cover of small-time leaders across party lines and make SPs and additional district collectors responsible for any slip-ups and corruption in coal mining. Das went on to suggest that accountability of IGs, DIGs and SPs had to be fixed unlike before and that there was an urgent need to improve law and order, especially the tackling of Naxalism.

According to sources, Chakraborty, looking increasingly restive by the minute, interrupted in the middle to ask the DGP to pass the relevant order for the IGs’, DIGs’ and SPs’ role. When Das said his suggestion was “not required”, an “embarrassed” Chakraborty almost walked out.

Soon after that, the government issued an order replacing him with another Jharkhand-cadre IAS officer Rajiv Gauba. Chakraborty was also issued a show-cause notice seeking “explanations for his conduct”, pointing out that he had shouted at the CM, threatened to walk out and “made violent gestures”. “You broke the microphone and threw it,” the notice said, asking why disciplinary action should not be taken against him.

An undaunted Chakraborty, however, told reporters, “We had made suggestions to the CM but these were brushed aside. Bureaucrats had to be listened to.” However, this isn’t the first brust with controversy of the former Jharkhand chief secretary, who is due to retire in December 2016. He had been appointed to the post in May 2014 by then CM Hemant Soren. This was quite a comeback after he had been suspended for four years following his conviction in the fodder scam in 2008. He was acquitted by the Jharkhand High Court in 2012.

During his term, he started the practice of chief secretaries travelling to remote areas to monitor government scheme implementation. He would conduct surprise visits at health centres to galvanise services, and often prod lethargic bureaucrats. He also came to be known for controversial remarks such as “If Naxals do not surrender, they would be shot down”.

Sources said Chakraborty had a falling out with Das after files from his end were not “moving at the desired pace”. Recently, Das appointed Bihar-cadre IAS officer Sanjay Kumar as his principal secretary. The CM also gave hints of bringing in a new bureaucratic set-up but Chakraborty refused to let that faze him.

A bureaucrat said, “At times Chakraborty would speak like a politician. Even Hemant Soren had appointed him first as additional chief secretary and replaced him with Sudhir Prasad, but brought him back again last May.”

Chakraborty, who weighs over 150 kg, is also known for his love for monkeys and disposing of his work mostly from outside office. A product of Ranchi’s St Xaviers School, he had been a part of the NSUI during student days. He earlier served as Ranchi collector and also worked as Tourism Department additional secretary. He was also secretary with the Relief and Rehabilitation Department. The JMM has taken on the BJP government over Chakraborty’s removal, slamming the “lack of coordination between government and bureaucracy”.

While Das himself refused to comment on the matter, a senior BJP leader called the reshuffle the prerogative of the government.

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