West Bengal chief secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay is seen in this file photo.
West Bengal chief secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay is seen in this file photo.

Centre to take action against WB chief secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay

The decision by the Cabinet's appointments committee chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was conveyed to the state government.
By HT Correspondent | Written by Meenakshi Ray, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAY 31, 2021 10:25 AM IST

The Centre will initiate disciplinary action against West Bengal chief secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay after he failed to report to the department of personnel, public grievances and pensions (DoPT) in New Delhi as ordered, people familiar with the development said on Monday. The central government transferred Bandopadhyay to DoPT on Friday, ordering the top civil servant to report by 10am on Monday, after a row broke out over West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee skipping a meeting convened by the PM during his visit to the state to review the impact of Cyclone Yaas.

Meanwhile, Mamata wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying she is "shocked and stunned" by the Center’s unilateral order" asking Bandyopadhyay to report to DoPT.

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“The unilateral "order" comes without any prior consultation whatsoever with the Government of West Bengal, without any volition / option of the officer, without meeting any of the pre- conditions of the Indian Administrative Service (Cadre) Rules, 1954 and other applicable laws under reference. The unilateral order / directive is legally untenable, historically unprecedented and wholly unconstitutional,” the Bengal chief minister wrote in her five-page letter.

“The government of Bengal cannot release, and is not releasing, its Chief Secretary at this critical hour, on the basis of our understanding that the earlier order of extension, issued after lawful consultation in accordance with applicable laws, remains operational and valid," she also said.

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Bandopadhyay was also present at the chief minister’s brief interaction with Prime Minister Modi at Kalaikunda on Friday afternoon. Mamata Banerjee did not attend the review meeting chaired by PM Modi, saying she had other appointments triggering a political row.

Bandopadhyay was due to retire on Monday but Mamata Banerjee announced last week that the Centre cleared her request to let the 1987-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer from the Bengal cadre continue for three more months since he had the experience of working during last year's Cyclone Amphan and had handled the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Bandopadhyay has never served in the central government and would not have been empanelled to serve at senior positions in the government.

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