Red-faced after the refusal of two senior bureaucrats to resign on moral grounds because of the Adarsh scam, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Tuesday said he had never asked these former officials to step down.
Chavan told reporters at a conference in the state secretariat, “I had asked the chief secretary to meet them and discuss the issue with them. I don’t want to comment on the issue further.”
Asked about his reported statement in a newspaper that he had asked the two officials — state right to information commissioner Ramanand Tiwari and state human rights commission member Subhash Lalla — to resign and the government would initiate legal proceedings if they failed to quit, Chavan said he had been “wrongly quoted”.
“I never said that I had sought resignations.”
On Monday, chief secretary JP Dange told HT that the state had asked Tiwari and Lalla to resign from their posts and that they had declined to do so.
Tiwari was the urban development department secretary and Lalla the principal secretary to the chief minister when the Adarsh society files were being processed in the state secretariat.
Tiwari’s son, Omkar, and Lalla’s mother and daughter, Susheela Shaligram and Sumeela Sethi, own flats in this controversial tower in Colaba.
Sources in the government said it had been decided to advise these officials to quit the posts on moral grounds.
Technically, the state cannot coerce these officials to quit. The legal process to get them out would involve seeking sanction from the governor and president.
The bureaucrats’ refusal and the leak to the media has caused embarassment to Chavan. It will have an impact on the judicial probe announced by the state as these two officials will not come under it.