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PMO, Raman fight over IAS officer

india Updated: Apr 24, 2012 00:03 IST
Ejaz Kaiser

A key official in the Prime Minister's Office is in the midst of a tug of war between the Centre and Chhattisgarh.

While PM Manmohan Singh insists on keeping BVR Subramanium, a 1987 batch IAS officer of the Chhattisgarh cadre, as joint secretary in his office, chief minister Raman Singh says he considers the officer to be on "unauthorised absence from the state government".

Raman Singh wrote to the PM on February 29, 2012, saying that Subramanium had been away from the state on deputation at the Centre since Chhattisgarh's formation in 2000 and "it is not known as to what provisions of the all India services leave rules or deputation rules are applicable in this case".

The officer was private secretary to the PM between 2004 and 2008, when he went to the World Bank. The CM wrote that on his return in October 2011, he should have joined the state government but did not.

"The state of Chhattisgarh, which is to contribute to his terminal benefits of pension, etc, has not been in a position to avail of his services," wrote the CM to the PM. On March 22, 2012, Subramanium joined the PMO as joint secretary.

The same day, the PM, without contesting Raman Singh's objections, replied that he "needs the service of Shri Subramanium". "I currently need the service of BVR in the PMO, which is handling a large number of issues of critical importance to the nation...and I need an officer who has the experience and exposure in handling sensitive matter. The officer also needs to be someone who enjoys my trust and confidence. Due to these reasons, I have selected BVR. You will agree that the Prime Minister may occasionally exercise this privilege of choice in the interest of work."

The CM's letter had suggested the possibility of issuing posting orders for the officer. If he does, it could lead to an unprecedented tussle between the Centre and the state.