Turmoil in the state bureaucracy became more apparent on Tuesday when more than 20 state cadre officers called on the additional chief secretary to express resentment over the implication of their colleagues in the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association irregularities case.
Several Indian Administrative Service officers held a closed-door meeting to deliberate on the state vigilance and anti-corruption bureau action, naming senior bureaucrats in the chargesheet.
More than 20 Himachal Pradesh administrative officers met additional chief secretary P Mitra, who is also the officiating chief secretary, to vent their grouse against the chargesheet.
The vigilance has indicted Mandi additional deputy commissioner Gopal Chand for leasing out land to the HPCA for construction of a residential complex for players that was later converted into a high-end hotel. Gopal was the additional secretary (revenue) when the government leased land to the HPCA in Kand near Dharamsala in Kangra district.
Members of the association also called on personnel principal secretary SKBS Negi, additional chief secretary VC Pharka, principal secretary to chief minister Virbhadra Singh P Mitra.
The association expressed resentment over the implication of Gopal and told the three officials that the naming of the Himachal Administrative Service officers in the chargesheet was having a demoralising effect on their working.
The association was critical of state vigilance bureau’s action. “We had met the senior government functionaries to apprise them of the sentiments of HAS officers,” an office-bearer of the HAS Officer Association told HT on the condition of anonymity.
Prior to meeting Mitra, the association members also held discussions with the office-bearers of the IAS Officer Association, which is already fuming over the names of senior serving and retired bureaucrats figuring in the chargesheet sent to the government for seeking prosecution sanction against two serving IAS officers, including additional chief secretary Deepak Sanan and Bilaspur deputy commissioner Ajay Sharma.
The chargesheet indicts Sanan for giving permission to lease out land to the HPCA without the consultation of the state cabinet. Sharma was the director of sports services when the land was leased out.
IAS officers held a closed-door meeting in the state secretariat to discuss a number of issues, including the action being initiated against their colleagues by the vigilance bureau.
“A majority of people attending the meeting said they felt that the vigilance should apply the same yardsticks to the police officers facing inquiries in various cases,” an IAS officer said.
The association observed that the vigilance acted “promptly” against IAS officers, while it was slow to act against police officers.
The meeting was also attended by officiating chief secretary P Mitra, who is also the president of the association. Apart from deliberations on vigilance action, the association also discussed the seventh pay commission and elected new office-bearers.