Notice sent to former Chief Secretary. (File pic)
The ministry official said that the former Chief Secretary of West Bengal Alapan Bandyopadhyay has been asked to respond to the notice within three days.
New Delhi. The dispute between the Center and the West Bengal government deepened when the Union Home Ministry issued a ‘show cause’ notice to former state chief secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay under the stringent provision of the Disaster Management Act, in which two Can be imprisoned for up to one year.
A Home Ministry official said on Tuesday that hours before Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced Bandopadhyay’s retirement on Monday, she was served a notice under Section 51-B of the Disaster Management Act. Ministry official said that Bandopadhyay has been asked to reply to the notice within three days.
Bandopadhyay, a 1987 batch IAS officer of the West Bengal cadre, was due to retire on Monday at the age of 60, but the Center had given him a three-month extension. Subsequently, the Center sought Bandopadhyay’s services on May 28 in a contingency decision and asked the state government to immediately relieve the top bureaucrat of the state.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday wrote to the prime minister on the matter and appointed Bandopadhyay as her chief advisor for three years after allowing him to retire. Bandopadhyay has been asked to explain in writing to the Home Ministry in three days why action should not be taken against him under the provisions of the Act. Earlier, the Department of Personnel and Training had directed Bandopadhyay to reach Delhi by Monday. Although he did not come to Delhi. Instead of accepting a three-month extension by the state and central government, he decided to retire. Reacting sharply to the notice, the Trinamool Congress claimed that the Center was taking revenge on the West Bengal government and that the notice sent to Bandopadhyay was illegal. Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha member Sukhendu Shekhar Roy said the notice under section 51 (b) of the Disaster Management Act is unfair as the question of violation of any provision does not arise.
Leader of Opposition in West Bengal Assembly and BJP leader Shubhendu Adhikari said that strict action should be taken against Bandopadhyay for violation of discipline and rules. Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Pradip Bhattacharya said that the Chief Secretary is the victim of the circumstances in the dispute between the Center and the State Government.
At the same time, some experts say that absence in any meeting is not in any way a violation of the instructions issued under the Disaster Management Act, so the show cause notice issued is not going to stand the legal test.