Two railway officers were summarily suspended on Tuesday evening for failing to place railways minister Mallikarjun Kharge’s saloon precisely in front of the red carpet that had been laid out for him at Lucknow station at the VIP entry gate.
The punitive orders were revoked on Wednesday morning, approximately 14 hours after they were issued. The HT is in possession of copies of both the orders, issued on behalf of the Lucknow divisional railway manager Jagdeep Rai.
Tuesday’s ‘faux pas’ had caused the minister to walk a few extra steps to board the saloon at Lucknow station, while journeying to Varanasi for a visit at the Diesel Locomotive Works facility.
“Such action in a democratic country reminds us of the British Raj, or worse, a totalitarian state. The unprecedented orders were issued in gross abuse of powers and in an unauthorised manner,” the honorary general secretary of Federation of Railway Officers’ Association said in a letter to Chairman Railway Board (CRB) Arunendra Kumar on Wednesday.
Procedures require that a suspension order can be issued in writing to an officer after approval has been obtained from the CRB.
In regard to the suspension and revocation drama involving the two officers – Swapnil Garg and AK Mall – certain rules were violated, while the CRB had apparently not been kept in the loop.
“I have no information at present. The general manager of the Northern Railways VK Gupta should have the details,” Kumar told HT.
Despite repeated attempts, both Gupta and Rai remained unavailable for comments.