Bouyed by the recent by-poll results in which the Samajwadi Party belied expectations by winning seven seats, UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is aiming to bolster the sagging image of his administration. And in the line of sight of the Chief Minister are his babus, especially those who are responsible for his Government’s big-ticket projects. Recently Akhilesh transferred two key bureaucrats, Sanjiv Sharan and Sada Kant, for delaying one of his pet projects — the beautification of the Imambara complex in Lucknow. Sources say that the CM has also sought explanation from three other babus for not briefing his office about important developments in their respective departments. Sharan, who was Principal Secretary, Infrastructure and Industrial development, was removed just two days after he hosted a trade delegation from the Netherlands. He has been sent as commissioner of Devi Patan, one of the most backward divisions of the State. Similarly, Sada Kant who was Principal Secretary for Housing and Urban Planning has been made Commissioner of Basti division. Their successors are yet to be named. The existing Divisional Commissioners of Basti and Devipatan divisions, SK Srivastava and RP Arora have both been waitlisted until further orders.
Transfer at midnight
Modi continues to use the broom to clean the sarkari stables. In a move associated more with States like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar or Tamil Nadu the Centre moved out 50 Additional and Joint Secretary-level babus. So sudden was the move (apparently orders were issued late in the night) that many babus were completely taken unawares. Though, typically, it was described as a routine administrative exercise, observers believe that the transfers were effected to further distance the bureaucracy from the earlier UPA regime. Also surprising was that most babu-watchers were expecting a minor reshuffle at the Secretary-level not a full-blown transfers of 50 babus. Significant names in the list of transferred babus (or in some cases prematurely repatriated) are I.S. Chahal, Rakesh Kumar Singh, U.S. Kumawat, M. Ariz Ahmed, Praveen Prakash among others. It’s true then that in Modi sarkar, ostensibly devoted to good governance, the babus don’t know where the next one’s coming from!
Safe no more
Slowly the layers that protected babus from prosecution for corruption are being peeled away. In a ruling that will have major repercussions for officials facing corruption charges, the Madras High Court recently pronounced that investigating agencies need not take permission from the parent State to prosecute an IAS officer facing charges of corruption. The court observed this when dismissing a petition filed by K. Suresh, a 1982-batch IAS officer of the Madhya Pradesh cadre, who was accused of accumulating assets disproportionate to his known sources of income, while posted as zonal manager of Food Corporation of India in Chennai. The babu argued that the CBI which had registered the case against him needed to seek sanction from the Madhya Pradesh Government. He further claimed that sanction to prosecute the babu issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) was invalid. But the court dismissed his plea.