The refusal of two senior bureaucrats under the scanner for their involvement in the Adarsh Housing Society scam to resign, is likely to put the government in a quandary because it cannot coerce these officials to resign.
State information commissioner Ramanand Tiwari and state human rights commission member Subhash Lalla both hold constitutional posts.
Chief secretary JP Dange, on Tuesday, said the state government had sought the resignations of the two senior bureaucrats but they have refused to do so.
There is a tedious procedure to be followed, involving an inquiry by the Supreme Court, before removing such officials. In both cases, the state will have to approach the Centre through the chief minister or the governor’s office. This also means the state-level judicial probe as announced in the state legislature will not have powers to examine the two officials’ role.
“Human rights commission members are protected by the Protection of Human Rights Law, 1993, and the state government will have to approach the Centre before seeking Lalla’s removal,” said lawyer and activist YP Singh.
The procedure for removing Tiwari also involves moving to the Supreme Court if the government charges him with misconduct.
However, the President can suspend him without an inquiry by the SC if she is convinced he is unfit for the job.
Tiwari’s son Omkar and Lalla’s mother and daughter Susheela Shaligram and Sumeela Seethi own flats in the controversial tower.
Both Tiwari and Lalla were not available for comment despite repeated calls.
Tiwari served as the state’s urban development secretary, while Lalla was the principal secretary to the chief minister when the Adarsh files were being cleared.
Sources said the state had decided to ask for the resignation of these officials on moral grounds. However, this has also led to questions over why no action has been taken against the other bureaucrats facing heat in the scam.
Notices have been issued to 21 bureaucrats including 12 all India service officers asking them to send details on how they took decisions related to Adarsh, whether the decision was taken in exchange of a flat and how did they bring money to buy flat.
These include former civic chief Jairaj Phatak, former Mumbai collectors Pradeep Vyas, IA Kundan, former secretary to the chief minister CS Sangitrao, former BEST general manager Uttam Khobragade, among others.
Sources said the chief minister was keen on suspending these officials until the judicial probe in the case was conducted.
“The probe would cover other serving and retired officers. Though the role played by Tiwari and Lalla would also come under investigation, the panel may not be able to recommend action against them,” said sources.