A senior Rajasthan IAS officer called a press conference on Thursday and announced that he had sought voluntary retirement in protest against the government’s alleged decision not to promote him to the post of chief secretary as he was a Dalit. However, Parliamentary affairs minister Rajendra Rathore said a disciplinary action would be initiated against the officer as he had violated the service rules.
A disgruntled 1978 batch IAS officer Umrao Salodia, presently working as chairman of the Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation, called a press conference at Pink City Press Club on Thursday.
Salodia said he resented the government’s alleged partisan attitude towards him in promotion as he was a Dalit. He said that he had already submitted the VRS application to the chief minister. Salodia also announced that he had adopted Islam and should be called Umrao Khan with effect from Thursday. However, he cited the decision as his personal right under Article 25 of the Constitution of India and refused to link it to his resentment over promotion. But, explaining the reason of his religious conversion, he did make a loaded remark, “There is no discrimination (in Islam) and there is only one God.”
The main cause of his resentment is that the present chief secretary CS Rajan has been given another three-month extension, though Salodia suggested that he deserved the promotion to the post because of his seniority.
The officer said, “As per the All India Service Rules, I will be serving my notice period of three months. I have asked the chief minister to sanction me VRS from March 31, 2016, so that I do not have to function under my ‘Junior’ after March 31, 2016.”
Salodia is due to retire on June 2016. In a sharp rebuttal to Salodia’s move, Parliamentary affairs minister Rajendra Rathore told journalists that commendably many key positions in the state were being handled by Dalits and said even the assembly speaker Kailash Meghwal was a dalit. Rathore said Salodia had violated the 1958 service rules by making the issue public in such a manner. He said a disciplinary action would be initiated against the officer after a thorough investigation.
Rathore even said that had Salodia waited for another three months, then probably the government would have considered him for the post of chief secretary. But, he expressed suspicion as to who was behind Salodia’s anti-government posturing (without taking any names).
Home minister Gulabchand Kataria wondered as to why Salodia chose to bring the issue into public domain instead of taken it up in a court. He said the officer’s action was not in good taste and expressed suspicion as to why he remembered being ignored as a Dalit when there were only six months left to his retirement.
Salodia has held many senior positions in his career. He was director general Jawahar Kala Kendra from December 2013 to October 2015, additional chief secretary, chairman revenue board, Ajmer from June 2012 to June 2013, chairman Rajasthan Tax Board, Ajmer from June 2011 to May 2012 and divisional commissioner Jaipur from January 2011 to June 2011.