DM&’s supreme boss is no less culpable
SIR, A criminal is a criminal is a criminal. This is a variant of Margaret Thatcher&’s statement in 1981 in relation to the IRA ~ “A crime is a crime is a crime.” Administrative complications are bound to crop up if special favours are shown to the IAS or a District Magistrate.
If an IAS officer is allegedly involved in the defalcation of funds of the Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority, then he ought not to have been posted as DM. Siliguri&’s Police Commissioner, who arrested him, has done his duty; there is no way in which the Chief Secretary or any senior officer can prevent him from doing his duty.
If a District Magistrate is accused of an offence under Sections 120B, 409 and 467 of IPC ~ and this has not been denied by the Chief Secretary ~ the natural course is to arrest him. How is it possible for the Chief Secretary to tell the police chief not to arrest him? No officer can extend special protection to an officer of a particular cadre.
Would the Chief Secretary have extended the same protection if the officer had belonged to the irrigation department? Would the logic that the DM was neither tampering with evidence nor influencing the witness be applied in the case of the irrigation department official as well? Obviously this argument is reserved only for the officers of a particular cadre to which the Chief Secretary belongs.
Therefore, the Chief Secretary has erred on three counts. First, he has posted a highly tainted officer as DM. Second, he has made an invidious distinction between the IAS and other services, particularly the IPS.
This is bound to have a deleterious effect in the long term. Third, he has ensured that an honest and upright police officer is put on “compulsory wait”, in effect conveying the impression that it is subservience ~ and not honesty ~ that pays.
As a former administrator, I submit that senior officers like Chief Secretaries and Central Government officers of that rank, often ruin the initiative and honesty of relatively junior officers.
As often as not, the seniors act at the behest of political forces and the industrial lobby. When I once detained some officers of my department under COFEPOSA (Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act) without the permission of my seniors (which was not legally necessary), I was pulled up by those above me.
Fortunately, some other seniors helped me out. Nonetheless, the incident left a scar on my psyche. Other officers have faced a similar predicament. So there is no point in blaming only the District Magistrate. His supreme boss in the state is equally culpable.
Let the truth be told.
Yours, etc., Sukumar Mukhopadhyay,
(Retired Member, Central Board of Excise & Customs),New Delhi, 5 December.
ENGLISH IN PARLIAMENT
SIR, In his article, ‘English & the Economy’ (5 December), Bharat Jhunjhunwala has made a correct analysis of Mulayam Singh Yadav&’s call to ban the use of English in Parliament.
This is utterly absurd. Earlier also, Rajnath Singh, the BJP leader, had disfavoured the use of English on the specious plea that it would denude our national and cultural values. With the general elections approaching, the Samajwadi Party leader is trying to deflect attention from the more serious problems of Uttar Pradesh, most importantly after the Muzaffarnagar riots. It is quite obvious that Mulayam is trying to woo voters of the Hindi heartland.
He tends to overlook the fact that his son, the present chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, went to Australia for his higher education in English.
Yet he doesn’t want students in his state to be proficient in English. The members of Parliament represent different parts of the country, and not merely the Hindi-speaking belt.
Yours, etc., Jayant Mukherjee, Kolkata, 5 December.
THE VISIONARY BASU
SIR, In his article, “Battling Begums push Bangladesh to the brink” (5 December), Kuldip Nayar writes: “The late West Bengal chief minister, Jyoti Basu, was a visionary and accommodated Bangladesh on the Farakka waters.” If he had been a true “visionary”, West Bengal would not have been a state amongst the “also ran”.
Mr Nayar has contended that “Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee does not see beyond the vote-bank.” My question is ~ Is there a party or one at the helm of a party in India, who does “see beyond the vote-bank”?
Yours, etc., PM Sen, Kolkata, 5 November.