The swiftness with which the vigilance bureau has moved the state government, seeking prosecution sanction against senior bureaucrats and former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and his parliamentarian son Anurag Thakur in the HPCA case, has apparently created a sharp divide between the powerful Indian Administrative Service and Indian Police Service lobbies in the state.
Upset over the haste shown by the vigilance to seek prosecution sanction against bureaucrats, the Indian Administrative Association called an emergency meeting on Monday to deliberate on the vigilance action and decided that IAS officers will meet chief minister Virbhadra Singh.
This is not the first time that IAS officers have fumed over a government decision. The association had earlier expressed resentment when the government issued show-cause notices to additional chief secretary Deepak Sanan and IAS officer RS Gupta over the land allotted to the HPCA for the construction of a residential complex for cricket players, which was later turned into a high-end hotel. The vigilance, in the chargesheet, had named six serving and retired officers, besides two Himachal administrative officers.
“There are several cases where the vigilance probe against the policemen is being deliberately conducted at a slow pace” said another officer.
It has been more than a year since the government ordered a probe into the telephone tapping and shifted director general of police ID Bhandhari to the nonsignificant home department. Bhandhari headed the Crime Investigation Department during the previous Prem Kumar Dhumal-led regime.
About a week ago, the home department directed the vigilance bureau to register an FIR against former director general of police DS Manhas and his wife for alleged violations in the construction of houses. The information gathered under the Right to Information Act revealed violation of the construction norms. It showed that Manhas had constructed an extra storey and the basement in violation of the construction norms, while a tree was removed from the construction site without the prior permission of the forest department. Manhas, who retired from the service in August 2012, was earlier the municipal commissioner of Shimla.
The IAS officers are also sore over the vigilance bureau’s delay in probing the ‘shoe scam’ in the police department. Preliminary investigation has found involvement of three top policemen, but the challan has still not been registered.
While the bureaucrats are resenting the naming of IAS officers in the chargesheet, they are also upset over the way the vigilance bureau chargesheet attempts to “shield” the retired bureaucrats now posted in the chief minister’s office.