Bengal: Centre issues fresh show-cause notice to Alapan Bandyopadhyay
Kolkata, June 21, 2021
The Central government has initiated penalty proceedings against Alapan Bandopadhyay, the former Chief Secretary of West Bengal and presently the advisor to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, for his alleged "misconduct" and "misbehaviour".
In a memorandum sent by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), the Centre has proposed to hold major penalty proceedings against him and has sought his response within 30 days, failing which the inquiring authority may hold the inquiry against him ex parte.
"Alapan Bandyopadhyay is hereby informed that the Central government proposes to hold major penalty proceedings against him under Rule 8 of the All India Services (discipline and appeals) Rule, 1969, read with Rule 6 of All India Services (death cum retirement benefits) Rule, 1958," the memorandum read.
The former Chief Secretary has been warned of major penalty proceedings that allow the Central government to withhold pension or gratuity, or both, either in full or in part, officials said.
Rule 8 of the All India Services (discipline and appeals) deals with the procedure for imposing major penalties.
"Whenever the disciplinary authority is of the opinion that there are grounds for inquiring into the truth of any imputation of misconduct or misbehaviour against a member of the Service, it may appoint under this rule or under the provisions of the Public Servants (Inquiries) Act 1850, as the case may be, an authority to inquire into the truth thereof," Rule 8 sub-section 2 states.
On the other hand, Rule 6 of the All India Services (death cum retirement benefits) deals with recovery of pension.
"The Central government reserves the right of withholding pension or gratuity, permanently or for a specified time, if the pensioner has been found guilty of misconduct," Rule 6(1) states.
Earlier, the Centre had issued a show cause notice to Bandopadhyay under the Disaster Management Act, which entails imprisonment for up to two years, to explain his absence from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting at Kalaikunda in the state on May 28.
Bandopadhyay in his four-page reply had said that he had to leave for a review of the cyclone-hit areas of Digha on the orders of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Bandyopadhyay, a 1987-batch IAS officer of West Bengal cadre, was set to retire as the Chief Secretary on May 31, but the state had sought and received permission for extension of his tenure for three months as he played a crucial role in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
He was, however, sent a directive to report to the North Block in Delhi by the Centre, shortly after a row broke out over the Prime Minister's post-cyclone review meeting with Mamata Banerjee.
The bureaucrat, instead of reporting to Delhi, chose to retire and was subsequently appointed as the CM's chief advisor.