Former West Bengal chief secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay moved Central Administrative Tribunal against the Centre’s decision to initiate an investigation against him in connection with the fiasco over the meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Mamata Banerjee following the cyclone Yaas.
The one-member inquiry committee formed to find out if Bandyopadhyay had violated norms by “not attending a meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi” at Kalaikunda on 28 May has asked him to appear before it on 18 October in Delhi and the ex-CS moved CAT the same day, questioning the jurisdiction of the government of India in initiating a probe against him for “misconduct”.
Bandyopadhyay was unavailable for comments but sources close to him said that the Centre may advise the state to conduct disciplinary proceedings against an IAS officer but cannot carry out probe against the officer directly.
“There are several judgments of the Supreme Court in this regard. We have cited those. This is a quasi-judicial process and we will wait to see the final order from the CAT,” the source said.
Bandyopadhyay was caught in the storm on 28 May when he allegedly skipped PM’s meeting who had come to Kalaikunda in East Midnapore to asses the damage in the aftermath of cyclone Yaas.
With chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Bandyopadhyay, the then chief secretary arrived at the PM’s meeting and left with her for Digha where another meeting over the cyclone damage was scheduled.
“Alapan Bandyopadhyay has followed the explicit and specific directions of his immediate superior authority, the Chief Minister. The Chief Minister entered the meeting, greeted the PM, handed over the reports and a Powerpoint presentation, and took the PM’s permission to leave, as she was scheduled to attend another meeting. She also requested the PM to allow the chief secretary to leave the meeting. After the PM’s approval, the CM and the CS left. These are all documented facts, and they were presented before the CAT,” said an official.
Following the incident, the Centre issued a show-cause notice asking him citing “violation of service rule of All-India service” for his alleged misconduct and the incident took a political shape.
“In a reply to the show cause notice, Bandyopadhyay had said he had attended the meeting along with the Chief Minister but left after taking permission of the PM. But the Centre is clearly not happy with the reply,” said a source.
Bandyopadhyay who was supposed to retire on 31 May was given an extension of a year by the Centre on the recommendations of the state government but after the incident he was asked to report in Delhi on central deputation which he refused and took his superannuation. Immediately after his retirement, Miss Banerjee appointed him as her chief adviser.