Babu pays Rs 20 lakh to turn neta | india | Hindustan Times
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Babu pays Rs 20 lakh to turn neta

india Updated: Jun 24, 2008 02:08 IST
Soumyajit Pattnaik

Nothing could stop this babu from giving up a cushy job to take up politics in his home state, not even a hefty amount of Rs 20.60 lakh that he had to pay to the government to quit before time.

Debabrata Kantha, a 1987-batch IAS officer of the Andhra Pradesh cadre, quit his job to return to Orissa and join the Congress in January. He aspires to contest 2009 assembly elections from his home district of Jajpur.

Like many others, Kantha, 43, whose last served as secretary in the minorities welfare department in Andhra, had initially thought of moving to greener pastures — corporate sector. “But I changed my decision as the fresh delimitation exercise changed the status of Jajpur from a reserved constituency to a general one,” Kantha told HT. “I made up my mind to join politics.”

The only hitch was a bond he had signed. In 2006, the Ministry of Personnel had paid partially Kantha’s bills to do a Masters in public administration at the Maxwell School of Public Affairs, New York. In return, he had signed a bond to serve at least three years in the government. Since he quit before that, the government asked him to pay back Rs 20.60 lakh. “I had to get a loan and arrange personal funds to pay back the money,” Kantha said.

Though his resignation has not been accepted yet by the government, Kantha has started attending political meetings.

Last year, another IAS officer of Andhra cadre, Dr Jatish Chandra Mohanty, returned to Orissa to float a new political party.