As per the All India Tiger Estimation (AITE), 2022 report, minimum 17 tigers were camera-trapped in Odisha, which was largely confined to Similipal Tiger Reserve.
With the Opposition mounting a scathing attack on VK Pandian, Private Secretary to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the Centre has asked the Odisha Government to initiate appropriate action against the 2000-batch IAS officer on alleged violation of the All India Services Conduct (AISC) Rules, 1948.
The Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) of the Union Government by forwarding the complaint lodged by Bharatiya Janata Party MP Aparajita Sarangi and BJP State President Manmohan Samal has asked Chief Secretary PK Jena to take ‘action as appropriate’.
“The government has taken cognizance of the violation of service conduct rule by an officer in Odisha. Based on clear evidence of violation, DoPT has asked Chief Secy to take action as State is the cadre controlling authority. Hope law will be allowed to take its course,” Sarangi later tweeted.
Both the BJP leaders had furnished photographic and video graphic evidence on the alleged violation of AICS rules by the influential bureaucrat.
“Mr. Pandian is moving around the State using State plane/helicopter and attending public reception. He is announcing new projects and as per his own claims, all this on the instruction of CM. This is done in clear violation of Rule 5(I) and Rule 12 (I) of AISC Rules. 1948”, they alleged in the complaint lodged with the DoPT.
“There is no such instruction of CM available. Even if there was instruction to go to the field to supervise development works, the activities of the officer, under the garb of supervision of development works, are clear violation of the conduct rules,” they further alleged.
The BJP leaders alleged that the CM’s private secretary is attending the decorated public meetings that bore resemblance to ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) party meetings. The meetings are being organized by prominent BJD faces.
“IAS officers are bound by AISC Rules and such spectacle by a serving officer is unheard of in any other part of India,” the complaint alleged.
Meanwhile, the Odisha Congress has also lodged a similar complaint against the CM’s private Secretary.
“No serving officer is permitted under the AISC Rules to represent a political functionary in a public meeting. Since the officer is presently working as the private secretary to Odisha CM, it is futile to expect CM to take action against the officer for violation of rules,” Bijay Kumar Patnaik, former Chief Secretary and the current Campaign Committee Chairman of Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee, stated in a complaint to the DoPT.
With the Opposition attacking the Chief Minister almost on a daily basis over Pandian violating the service conduct and being preferred ministers, BJD MLAs in reviewing development works, Naveen Patnaik in an audio message to people at a public meeting in Barpali yesterday told them that they can voice their grievances to his private secretary. Pandian had played the audio message of the CM in the public meeting at Barpali in Bargarh district on Monday to silence his critics.
However the propriety of Pandian undertaking extensive tour of the State in the name of review of the developmental works is being questioned and has come under criticism from several quarters.
“Even if there is an instruction (from CM) to go to the field to supervise the development works, the activities of the officer under the garb of supervision of development works are in clear violation of the Conduct Rules,” BJP leaders Samal and Sarangi alleged.