On May 20, two days before his tenure as railway minister ended, Lalu Prasad (62) passed orders transferring 16 officials to posts of divisional railway managers (DRMs). Soon after she took over from him, the new railway minister Mamata Banerjee (55) scrapped Prasad’s list and issued a new one.
A number of names in the first list did not find place in the second place. Even those whose names were retained, found themselves dispatched to locations different from the ones Prasad had marked for them.
The first list, for instance, transferred Sanjiv Garg as DRM to Rangiya in Assam. In the second, his name was missing. The first list posted R.D. Sharma in Asansol, West Bengal. The second packed him off to Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
Railway officials wonder why Prasad chose to make these appointments at all on the eve of his departure. DRMs have substantial administrative and financial powers.
Prasad’s choice of K.B.L. Mittal as Secretary, Railway Board, is also curious. He was appointed last December at Prasad’s insistence, even though his name was not in the list sent to Prasad by the Railways’ Departmental Promotion Committee. Nor was his name cleared by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC).
In case an appointment at this level is made prior to ACC’s green signal, the clearance has to be obtained within three months. That deadline too passed in March.
Mittal admitted to Hindustan Times, by telephone from Spain, which he is currently visiting that the ACC’s clearance hadn’t yet come in. “But it’s on its way and I should get it shortly,” he said.