2 IAS officers suspended for Delhi lockdown violations, 2 other officials face action
Two top IAS officers in the Delhi government have been suspended and two more officials face action for charges that failed to enforce the Covid-19 lockdown in national capital Delhi over the last few days.
Renu Sharma, a 1988 batch IAS officer who was posted as Additional Chief Secretary (Transport) and Rajeev Verma, a 1992 batch IAS officer who was Principal Secretary, Finance, in the city government have been suspended.
Their suspension orders, seen by Hindustan Times, said the Union home ministry’s competent authority was satisfied that the two officers had prima facie violated the lockdown orders to contain Covid-19.
The two officers, the home ministry said in identical orders, had failed to maintain absolute integrity and devotion to duty. It added that the government intended to initiate action for imposing major penalties against them.
Home Ministry officials said action is also being taken against the city government’s Additional Chief Secretary, Home and Land Building, and the Sub Divisional Magistrate Seelampur.
Home Ministry officials did not elaborate on the precise nature of the allegations against the four officials. But there were indications it was linked to the arrangements by the Delhi Transport Corporation to ferry migrant labour from different parts of the capital to the Delhi-UP border over the last two days.
Just hours earlier, Delhi Police had filed FIRs over 44 DTC buses headed to the UP border with migrant workers. The first FIR registered by the police had indicated that the buses had been deployed on orders of government officials.
According to the FIR accessed by HT, when the police asked the bus staffer “why are they carrying migrant passengers, that too without issuing any ticket to them, all them told that ‘they had orders from superiors’.” The FIR listed registration numbers of 44 buses.
At meetings with states over video conference with Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba and Home Secretary AK Bhalla, the Centre had already made it clear that it was upset with the tens of thousands of migrant workers landing up on the UP-Delhi border to go home.
“This is a violation of the lockdown measures on maintaining social distance,” the home ministry said in its order issued earlier in the day that sent a clear warning to states. In this order, the Centre reminded states to “effectively seal” state and district borders to stop the movement of the migrant workers. For those who have already reached their destinations, the Centre has prescribed a 14-day quarantine to make sure they haven’t contracted the infection.