In what raises questions about its role, the union ministry of personnel, public grievances and pensions "misplaced" the file relating to the controversial inter-cadre deputation of West Bengal-cadre IAS officer KJS Cheema to Punjab without the Centre's approval.
The file containing important communication such as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's refusal to accept Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal's request to regularise the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer's "deputation" and the decision to recommend disciplinary proceedings against him, mysteriously went missing from the department of personnel and training (DoPT).
"The file (No 13017/36/1997-AIS.I) regarding the inter-cadre deputation of Cheema is missing," Narendra Gautam, central public information officer and undersecretary, DoPT, had on December 12, 2011, stated in response to an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005. The department further informed that no FIR was registered or inquiry conducted to look into how the file went missing.
While the department did not "reconstruct" the untraceable file, officials deny any knowledge of when and how the file was lost. Meanwhile, Cheema, a 1993-batch IAS officer, was allowed to continue in Punjab, where he has been holding the coveted post of special principal secretary in the chief minister's office (CMO), despite the Centre's multiple directives to him to report to his parent cadre of West Bengal.