Teen suicide: Agri secretary sent on leave

  • Surendra Gangan , Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Aug 20, 2016 00:07 IST
The officer was advised to apply for leave amid the tremendous pressure from employees. (Ht File Photo)

Additional chief secretary Bhagwan Sahai has been sent on leave pending inquiry for apathy in the suicide of a joint secretary’s son last week. He is likely to be kept without any charge until the inquiry is completed.

Responding to the aggressive agitation and demand of his suspension by various unions representing government employees, state government decided to send the officer on leave.

“Right now he has been asked to go on leave and the charge of the agriculture department has been handed over to additional chief secretary DK Jain,” Fadnavis said in a reply to a text message by HT.

However, there are contrary views from the state administration. “There is no such thing as compulsory leave in the law. Sahai had applied for leave of two weeks, through an application to the chief secretary today, which has been granted,” said Mukesh Khullar, principal secretary of general administration department.

According to the sources, the officer was advised to apply for leave amid the tremendous pressure from employees. “The employees have been demanding the suspension claiming that it was not possible for them to work under him. Had the officer continued in the department, it would have been difficult to pacify the employees and hence Sahai was told to apply for the leave on his own. The employees have been citing previous incidents of harassment and one more case of suicide by a clerk last month. This has created sentiments against the officer,” the officer said.

19-year old Avdhut, son of Ghadge, committed suicide last Thursday over domestic issues. Before taking the extreme step, the son had called Ghadge to ask him to rush back home as he was restless. When Ghadge approached additional chief secretary Bhagwan Sahai for permission to leave early, he was denied permission and was warned to not leave office before the office hours end. Employees have been holding Sahai guilty for the death.

Employees’ unions continued their protest on second consecutive day demanding action against the officer. “Sahai should be kept away from any department in Mantralaya pending inquiry as he is likely to influence it. The performance of the employees from any department he heads is affected badly and it was imperative to shut him out if the government wants employees to work fearlessly,” the Maharashtra Mantralaya Officers Organisation has stated in its memorandum submitted to the chief minister and chief secretary.

Government has already announced the probe by chief secretary Swadheen Kshatriya. Sahai has been asked to present his side in the case. Ghadge’s statement is likely to be recorded once he comes back from his native place in Solapur.

1. Nineteen-year-old Avdhut, son of Rajesh Ghadge, a joint secretary in the department, committed suicide on Thursday over domestic issues.

2. Before taking the extreme step, he had called up Ghadge to ask him to rush home as he was restless

3. When Ghadge approached Sahai for permission to leave early, he was allegedly denied permission and warned not to leave office before office hours end.

4. Despite continuous requests from his son and wife over phone, Ghadge was not allowed to leave early. He got the news of his son’s demise on his way home.

5. Employees have been holding Sahai guilty for the death.

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