A proposal by Punjab’s Advocate General Atul Nanda to have an Officer on Special Duty (OSD) in his office is being pushed by the Home department despite objections raised by the state’s Finance department. Nanda had apparently even zeroed in on a candidate.
A note prepared by the Home department reads that an OSD would “act as a bridge between the team of his law officers and the government departments concerned whose cases are to be defended by the law officers”.
The Indian Express has seen the note prepared by the Home department, asking the Finance department to “reconsider” it as “the CM has also desired it”.
Nanda distanced himself from the note. “I have dropped the proposal. I have nothing to do with what Home department does,” Nanda told The Indian Express, and disconnected the call.
According to the Home department’s note: “This case was discussed with Hon’ble CM when Advocate General, Punjab, was also present. The Advocate General has requested for the services of the retired senior officer on pay minus pension basis to act as bridge between the team of his law officers and the Govt departments concerned whose cases are to be defended by the law officers. AG feels that the services of Pritihi Chand, IAS (retired) as Officer on Special Duty would be very useful and ensure better coordination between his office and the departments concerned for effectively defending the cases involving huge financial implications. CM has also desired that we may agree to the request of AG. Accordingly, Finance department is requested to reconsider and concur the proposal for at least a period of one year.”
Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Nirmaljeet Singh Kalsi was not available for comment despite repeated attempts. He did not respond to phone calls and text messages.
Secretary (Finance) Anirudh Tiwari, when contacted, said he did not have details of the case. “If there were any objections, these must be on some valid grounds,” he said.