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Centre rubbishes charges leveled by Mamata, defends action on ex Bengal Chief Secretary

News Agencies | Updated on: 2 June 2021, 9:51 IST
Alapan Bandyopadhyay

The Central government on Tuesday defended its move to summon former West Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay and called its transfer order 'Constitutional', according to sources.

"The order is perfectly Constitutional since Chief Secretary is an All India Services officer. He chose to ignore his Constitutional duties, as a result of which no presentation was given to Prime Minister and no officer of West Bengal Government attended the Prime Minister's review meeting," Central government sources told ANI.

The former Chief Secretary was summoned for Central deputation after he reportedly failed to give a presentation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Cyclone Yaas review meeting last week. According to sources, he left the meet along with Chief Minister without giving a proper reason.

A day after Chief Secretary Alapan Bandophadyay was asked to report to the Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT), New Delhi, Bandophadyay opted for retirement from his position as Chief Secretary and joined the Mamata Banerjee-led government as her chief advisor.

The Centre then accused Mamata of protecting Bandophadhay from disciplinary action.

"Chief Secretary's retirement shows that Mamata Banerjee is on the back foot. She knows that facts of the matter are against the Chief Secretary and his behaviour was such that it will invite strict disciplinary action as he is an All India Services Officer and it was his duty to ensure that the review meeting takes place as scheduled. All India Officers are not expected to be part of politics. Mamata knows all this and his retirement is the last bid to save him," said sources.

"Mamata Banerjee has done a big U-turn in a matter of hours, from requesting Prime Minister to confirm the extension of Chief Secretary for three months to retiring him now," added sources.

Earlier, West Bengal Chief Minister called the Centre's move regarding Chief Secretary a unilateral order without prior consultation with the State and argued that the order is legally "untenable, unprecedented, unconstitutional".

The Union Ministry of Personnel also issued Bandyopadhyay a show-cause notice for not reporting to the Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT).

Mamata also raised questions on the Union government's decision to move the Chief Secretary to Central deputation as he recently got an extension of three months.

Central government sources further said, "The fact that GoI had agreed to extend the service of Chief Secretary shows that it is acting in full co-operation and without malice against West Bengal."

Government sources also countered other allegations leveled by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee that she was not informed about Prime Miniter's meeting on time.

Sources also said the Prime Minister did not give permission to Mamata Banerjee to leave the meeting as she claimed.

"Mamata Banerjee had agreed to attend the meeting. However, she changed her mind after coming to know that the Leader of Opposition (LoP) was going to be part of the meeting, which she also mentions in her letter. Hence it is clear that her pre-decided schedule was not an issue at all. This was also confirmed by the Governor of West Bengal who has tweeted that Mamata told him that she would boycott the meeting if LoP attends the meeting," added sources.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had held a review meeting at Kalaikunda in Paschim Medinipur district to take stock of the post-cyclonic situation. Mamata Banerjee was supposed to attend the meeting. However, she arrived late by 30 minutes and handed him over reports of damage caused by the impact of Cyclone Yaas. Following this, she and the state chief secretary left for her "pre-scheduled" meeting at Digha.


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First published: 2 June 2021, 9:51 IST