A day after the Bihar Staff Selection Commission (BSSC) chairman Sudhir Kumar was sent to jail on charges of paper leak in intermediate grade clerical examination, the IAS officers’ association hinted at not taking things lying down. It cautioned the government on Saturday that the police action against senior IAS officer would have ‘larger ramifications in decision-making in governance’.
The association’s assertion of ‘larger ramifications’ holds significance as it was seen as a forewarning to the government of the possibility of IAS officers adopting a go -slow approach in dealing with official files to minimise risks in decision-making.
Having met chief minister Nitish Kumar and chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh on Friday to express their anguish over the arrest of BSSC chairman, the members would convene another meeting to plan their next course of action on Sunday.
However, the association sounded less combative on Saturday over issues of investigation into the paper leak case by the special investigation team (SIT) of Patna police.
Association’s secretary Deepak Kumar Singh said the IAS body was peeved at the manner in which the 1987-batch officer was arrested from Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh.
Asked to comment on evidence gathered by the police, pointing to the alleged involvement of the officer and his relatives in paper leak, he said the association had not seen the evidence so far.
“We are opposed to the manner in which the officer was arrested. Why could the police not question him in office before taking the big step. The arrest is an act of humiliation because it’s the trial court that decides whether a person is guilty, or not,” he said.
Singh also underlined that the association was defending the officer because he was part of the All India Service and had a clean service record and his integrity was well known in bureaucratic circles.
“Even in the case of IAS officer Jitendra Gupta, arrested on charge of taking bribe, the high court gave an order in favour of the officer,” he said.
Incidentally, a sense of fear has gripped the IAS officers after the arrest, with many admitting that such police action against a senior bureaucract would have a demoralising effect on the entire administrative fraternity.
“Anybody can commit mistakes. But it should not necessarily mean that an officer should be arrested,” said another senior IAS officer, describing the predicament the officers found themselves in.