The appointment of Vini Mahajan as Punjab chief secretary, superseding five senior IAS officers, is ‘unconstitutional’ and against lad down norms of official working, former Leader of Opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira Saturday said.
Addressing media in Chandigarh, Khaira accused Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh of making “erroneous, wrongful and unconstitutional appointments” at his whims and fancies.
Khaira said the Mahajan has superseded five senior officers to land the top job. He said earlier her husband and IPS officer Dinkar Gupta was chosen to head the Punjab Police by superseding five senior IPS officers and this clearly shows that Amarinder Singh has scant regard for seniority and fairness.
Khaira said such out of turn promotions to the top positions in the state will not only create heartburn in the civil and police administration but will also demoralise deserving officers. He said the “unfair appointment” of Gupta as DGP was set aside by the CAT and the matter is now hanging litigation in the Punjab and Haryana High Court where the government is spending crores to defend his wrongful appointment.
“Similarly the fresh appointment of Mahajan as chief secretary will also land the state into another round of fresh litigation, by those who have been ignored and humiliated,” he said.
Khaira castigated Amarinder Singh for ignoring the aspirations, seniority and merit of Sikh officers both in the civil and police administration, while making top appointments. Khaira said if Sikh officers will not have an opportunity to serve in their home state, it is highly impossible for them to get any rewarding position in the rest of the country.
“Probably it is the first time in the history of present Punjab that the positions of chief secretary and the DGP have gone to non-Sikh officers. This brazen act also amounts to conflict of interest as the chief secretary is the magisterial authority to keep a check on the police working. Can the new CS give any adverse report against her DGP husband, if he violates any rule of law,” he asked.
Weeks after a showdown with Cabinet ministers, Karan Avtar Singh was Friday replaced by Mahajan as the chief secretary. Mahajan, a 1987-batch IAS officer, is the first woman to head the bureaucracy in the state. She is currently the only Punjab cadre officer in the state empanelled to hold a secretary’s post at the Centre, a state government statement had said.
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