The Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal has received the go-ahead from the Centre for initiating action against Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal’s special principal secretary KJS Cheema, who has remained absent from his parent cadre.
Cheema, a 1993-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the West Bengal cadre, has been on inter-state deputation to his home state Punjab since 2007, when Badal became the chief minister during his previous term.
The Badal regime has been resisting attempts of the West Bengal government for repatriating Cheema. While the union government has time and again asked Punjab to repatriate Cheema to his parent cadre as his deputation had exceeded the limit, Badal has written a number of times to the Centre for an extension in this regard.
Now, the union ministry of personnel, public grievances and pensions (department of personnel and training) has written a letter to the West Bengal chief secretary for initiating action against Cheema. A copy of the letter has been sent to the Punjab chief secretary and the Accountant General, Punjab, for “information and further necessary action.”
“Since the officer’s inter-cadre deputation has not been extended, the state government is requested to initiate action under rules against him for his unauthorised absence from the cadre beyond a period approved by the competent authority i.e. the central government,” reads the Centre’s letter sent to the West Bengal chief secretary.
In this communiqué, Navneet Mishra, undersecretary to the government of India, has also referred to the West Bengal chief secretary’s letter dated March 26, 2012, and subsequent reminder vide a demi-official (DO) letter of June 25, 2012, to the union government regarding “immediate repatriation” of Cheema from Punjab.
Punjab government sources said the letter was sent to Badal, who has sent this file back while duly noting “seen.”
However, an authoritative functionary of the Punjab accountant general (AG) office said they were yet to receive the communication in question. In West Bengal and Assam, the AG office releases the salary of IAS officers, while the Punjab AG releases the salary of MLAs only.
Government sources stated that in the capacity of the auditing authority, the Punjab AG office could raise serious objections to the state government releasing Cheema’s salary.
The IAS officer was not available for comments despite being contacted repeatedly.