In a surprise move, Sanjay Pandey, the controller of the legal metrology organisation (LMO), who had booked several builders and traders for duping consumers, was transferred to Pune on Thursday.
This comes as bad news for consumers, as the crackdown started by Pandey on traders, transporters and builders may now lose steam.
Pandey had directed officials to prosecute shopkeepers found to be overcharging for packed products such as milk, water bottles and aerated drinks.
Also, he had booked several developers for selling flats with less carpet area then what was promised to the buyers.
The controller of legal metrology department has two-year tenure. But Pandey, who was appointed in October 2014, is being transferred within five months with immediate effect.
Sources claimed he could have been easily retained by upgrading his post after getting the permission of the finance department.
“Generally, in such a case, the post is upgraded, especially if the official has not completed his tenure. Under the Maharashtra government rules of business, the emoluments can be varied with prior permission of the finance department. However, it looks like the official is being transferred to get rid of him,” said YP Singh, former IPS officer-turned-lawyer.
Last week, the legal metrology organisation, which falls under the weights and measures department of the state government, had registered over 50 cases in Mumbai and Thane district against traders for overcharging consumers.
Pandey had also taken a decision to install flow meters at petrol pumps to keep a check on how much fuel is being filled in a vehicle. “People with vested interests have managed to transfer an upright officer, as he was not bowing to pressure. We are planning to approach the chief minister to bring Pandey back,” said Ravi Shinde, president, petrol dealers’ association, Mumbai.
Shirish Deshpande, chairman, Mumbai Grahak Panchayat (MGP) said, “The government should not transfer an official who taking action against errant traders. This demoralises the bureaucracy and sends a wrong message to people.”