Punjab shunts out ‘terminator’ IAS officer

  • Pawan Sharma, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Feb 13, 2015 12:00 IST

Stunned by the mass sacking of Punjab ex-servicemen corporation employees by its senior IAS officer, the state government on Thursday shunted out the principal secretary-rank officer from his post and withdrew the “patently illegal termination order” with immediate effect.

As reported first in HT, ‘Punjab IAS officer plays ‘terminator’ for staffers’ (February 12), 1984-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Dharamvir, principal secretary, defence services welfare, in a single-page, six-line February 9 order, summarily “terminated” the services of about 1,500 “non-ex-servicemen” employees -- permanent or contractual – who had been serving in the ex-servicemen corporation for the past many years.

The IAS officer had set ‘2pm, February 10’ as the deadline for Lt Gen Kuldip Singh (retd), chairman-cum-managing director of the corporation, for compliance of the order.

Ostensibly on the directions of the state government, Dharamvir, before being transferred, withdrew his controversial order, stating: “…orders issued by the government vide its diary number 95 dated February 9, 2015, terminating the services of non-ex-servicemen recruited in the Punjab state ex-servicemen corporation, Chandigarh, are hereby withdrawn with immediate effect.”

The government posted Dharamvir as principal secretary (surplus pool), a ‘dumping ground’ post which he had earlier held for nearly six years, while superintendent Manohar Lal Bangar of the defence services welfare department was also transferred.

KJS Cheema, special principal secretary to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, was given the charge of defence services welfare.

Speaking to HT, Janmeja Singh Sekhon, who apart from holding the PWD (public works department) portfolio, is also the minister of the defence services department, said: “The principal secretary has issued a patently illegal order. He doesn’t have powers to issue such orders. Nor did he take up the matter with me. Only the cabinet can take decisions on such matters.”

Sources say Dharamvir and his superintendent Bangar had paralysed the functioning of the ex-servicemen corporation by shooting off whimsical letters.

In yet another February 9 noting, Dharamvir had locked horns with special principal secretary KJS Cheema over the government giving the powers of managing director (MD) to Lt Gen Kuldip Singh (retd), who is the chairman of the corporation.

The IAS officer, sources said, recorded on the file that Cheema was influencing the case of Lt Gen Kuldip Singh (retd) and demanded the charge of MD for himself.

Before being posted as principal secretary, defence services welfare, about five weeks ago, Dharamvir was principal secretary, Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC), where he was allegedly not given work.

“The officer indulged in gross misbehaviour with key functionaries of the PSHRC. A verbal complaint was also lodged with the government, after which he was transferred from the commission,” a source in the rights body alleged.

The IAS officer was not available for comment. pawan.sharma@hindustantimes.com

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