CM Fadnavis missed Obama dinner as invite sent by speed post

CM Devendra Fadnavis missed the dinner hosted by President Pranab Mukherjee for US President on January 25 because senior state officials in New Delhi decided to send the Rashtrapati Bhawan invite by speed post to the CMO and failed to inform the CM’s staff.
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JAN 28, 2015 09:54 PM IST

Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis missed the dinner hosted by President Pranab Mukherjee for US President Barack Obama on January 25 because senior state officials in New Delhi decided to send the Rashtrapati Bhawan invite by speed post to the chief minister’s office and failed to inform the CM’s staff.

HT had on Wednesday reported about how Fadnavis, who was one of three chief ministers invited for the dinner at Rashtrapati Bhawan, missed the exclusive event as the information reached him too late. The CM was on his way back to Mumbai from Davos.

“Our preliminary inquiry revealed the outgoing resident commissioner [Bipin Mullick] was aware of the invitation received by the Maharashtra Sadan (state government’s office in Delhi) on January 17 and he had given the responsibility to an officer who chose to send it by speed post, resulting in its late delivery at our office in Mumbai. Prima facie, the Delhi office failed to handle it with enough seriousness. Had it reached me in time, I would have taken a direct flight to Delhi, instead of Mumbai, while coming back from Davos,” Fadnavis said on Wednesday.

The CM has ordered a high-level probe into the goof-up at the office of the resident commissioner in New Delhi. According to sources, action is expected against two officers who did not send the invite on time, and chose to send it by speed post like other documents are sent to Mumbai.

Resident commissioner Abha Shukla, who took over from Mullick recently, has been asked to inquire and submit the report. The two officers at the resident commissioner’s office have been given a memo and action is expected to be taken once the report is submitted to the government.

Some officials in Mantralaya said the goof-up could have taken place at the chief minister’s office in Mumbai. The letter sent by speed post reached the chief minister’s office on January 23, but nobody thought about intimating Fadnavis or the secretaries accompanying him.

Questions have also been raised about whether the state’s officer in charge of protocol in New Delhi, who is an IAS officer, failed his duty of personally coordinating with the chief minister’s office.

Fadnavis, however, made it for a high tea organised by the Prime Minister’s Office on Monday evening. He said he was the only chief minister to be invited for both functions. According to him, three CMs were invited for the dinner and only two for the high tea.

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