Some bureaucrats in Maharashtra have opposed the blanket suspension of government staff members caught taking bribes by the anti corruption bureau (ACB).
The bureaucrats have reportedly been putting pressure on the administration to give power to heads of departments to decide on matters of suspension.
During a review meeting on graft cases registered by the ACB, held by chief secretary Swadheen Kshatriya on Wednesday, secretaries from various departments raised objections to the suspension of employees who have not been imprisoned for more than 48 hours. They said the blanket suspension of the employees was unjust, as in many cases the employees were falsely implicated in graft cases.
Noting the divide in the bureaucracy, the administration has decided to leave the decision to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.
Fadnavis had announced the suspension of employees arrested in graft cases with immediate effect, despite the provision which says they should be suspended only if they have been imprisoned for more than 48 hours. In February, Fadnavis had also asked the chief secretary to dismiss the 36 employees who were in service despite having been convicted in corruption cases. He also asked Kshatriya to review the cases at regular intervals.
According to sources, secretaries, most of whom are IAS officers, opposed suspension of those staff members who have not been jailed for more than 48 hours. “The officers said the heads of the departments should be given the power to decide, after due inquiry, if the suspension was necessary. Though few senior officers opposed the demand, a majority of the officers were against the suspension,” said an officer.
The officer said suspension was necessary, keeping in mind the general perception among people against corrupt employees.
“Secondly, the false cases are no more than 2% and arrests are made by the ACB only after due verification. There are also chances of meddling with evidence, intimidation by the accused if they are retained in service,” he said.
Kshatriya said, “These are only views put forward by a section of officers. They claimed they are held accountable in courts if there are unnecessary suspensions under them. The final decision about the suspension of employees jailed for less than 48 hours will be taken by CM.”