According to sources in the government of India, a chargesheet may be issued against the retired chief secretary followed by disciplinary action.
The show-cause notice sent to Bandyopadhyay on Monday is said to have pointed out his failure to present himself at the DoPT office in North Block at 10 am on Monday, and asked why disciplinary proceedings should not be initiated against him for having defied the Centre’s directions in alleged violation of service rules.
Sources indicated that Bandyopadhyay can respond to the show-cause notice, explaining that he could not report to New Delhi at the appointed hour as the West Bengal government did not give clearance to his New Delhi trip.
“This would be a completely valid and acceptable explanation,” former secretary, personnel S K Sarkar told TOI on Monday. He added that since the West Bengal government was Bandyopadhyay’s cadre controlling agency, its approval was mandatory for him to travel to New Delhi to report to DoPT.
Central government sources indicated that disciplinary proceedings may still be initiated against the retired chief secretary and a chargesheet served to him.
A government functionary said: “The chief secretary’s retirement shows that Mamata Banerjee is on the backfoot. She knows that the facts of the matter are against the chief secretary and this is a last bid to save him…Banerjee has done a big U-turn in a matter of hours. From requesting the PM to confirm the extension of chief secretary for 3 months, to retiring him now. But this move doesn’t change anything. Chargesheet will be issued and disciplinary action will be taken against Alapan Bandyopadhay”.
Disciplinary proceedings can be initiated against an officer for up to four years after his/her retirement, as per rules. However, a senior bureaucrat argued that as per All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1969, the competent authority for issuing the chargesheet in this case would be the West Bengal government, since it never relieved Bandyopadhay.
Yet, some cite Rule 6(1) of IAS Cadre Rules to underline that the Centre’s word on deputation of an officer prevails in the event of any disagreements between the Centre and the state government concerned.
The aggrieved officer can always escalate the matter to the Central Administrative Tribunal or the High Court.
Disciplinary action, which will have to follow due process including giving the officer a proper hearing, may involve a minor or major penalty. For an officer who has already retired, it may impact his post-retirement pension and other benefits.