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Chief secy ‘assault’: IAS officers skip summons by House panel

Current secretary-cum-registrar of the department of cooperative society (RCS), JB Singh, and former RCS Shurbir Singh, also opted out of Wednesday’s meeting and might face similar action from the Assembly committee.

delhi Updated: Feb 22, 2018 00:13 IST
Sweta Goswami
Sweta Goswami
Hindustan Times
Anshu Prakash,Delhi chief secretary,AAP govt
Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash exits after meeting Lt Governor Anil Baijal.(PTI)

Delhi chief secretary Anshu Prakash on Wednesday missed a summon by a Delhi Assembly panel, after which privilege proceedings were recommended against him for “contempt of House”.

Prakash had been summoned by the Assembly panel on alleged irregularities in a cooperative bank.

Prakash, however, is not the only one who could face the privilege charges. Current secretary-cum-registrar of the department of cooperative society (RCS), JB Singh, and former RCS Shurbir Singh, also opted out of Wednesday’s meeting and might face similar action from the Assembly committee.

The Assembly committee also recommended action against the office bearers of the IAS officers’ association for asking the bureaucrats to “boycott the meetings called by House panel” – a move that is likely to deepen the conflict between the Aam Aadmi Party government and its bureaucracy.

But, the IAS association said no officers were asked to boycott meetings or summons of the Delhi Assembly.

The chief secretary was summoned by the Assembly’s question and reference committee, headed by deputy speaker Rakhi Birla, amid high drama with panel member and Greater Kailash MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj inviting the media to witness the meeting.

The IAS association said the move was in contravention of Rule 175 of the rules of procedure and conduct of business of the Delhi legislative assembly. According to the rule, no other person apart from the members should be present during the deliberations of the committee.

Among the committee members, only four out of the sanctioned strength of nine attended Wednesday’s meeting. The meeting that was to begin at 5 pm was delayed as the committee wanted to wait for the officials for which an additional 15 minutes was given. Bhardwaj then made phone calls to all the three bureaucrats and put them on speaker to know the reasons for their absence.

When Prakash’s secretary told Bhardwaj that he was unwell, the MLA responded by saying, “Oh! But he was hale and hearty to attend the 3pm meeting at the Prime Ministers’ Office.”

Bharadwaj said the chief secretary had appeared before the House panel last week, but sought another date as Shurbir Singh and JB Singh were not present.

During the meeting of House panel, members were told that a message was conveyed to Prakash’s office, but his staff said he was not well after attending a meeting at the PMO at 3 pm.

Last month, the Delhi Assembly’s Petitions Committee had recommended “criminal proceedings” against two IAS officers for providing “help and aid to the corrupt” in connection with the alleged irregularities in Delhi Nagrik Sehkari Bank Ltd.

The panel had recommended that the chief secretary should submit an action taken report in the House within a month.

“The chief secretary should initiate criminal proceedings against Shurbir Singh and JB Singh for their acts of commission and omission to help and aid the corrupt,” the committee had said in its report.

First Published: Feb 22, 2018 00:13 IST