'Hounded' babus seek CM's support

Apr 11, 2012, 07:33 IST | Ravikiran Deshmukh

IAS officers meet Chavan, complain about victimisation of colleagues by the investigating agency and media over contents of CAG report leak and other matters

Netas have said it time and again. Now, it seems, the babus are joining the club. With several of them being linked to alleged scams that have surfaced recently, IAS officers from the state feel they are being unfairly targeted by the media, and even the CBI. IAS Officers’ Association, the body representing over 350 officers from the Indian Administrative Service from the state cadre, is perturbed over recent developments, including the arrest of two colleagues and FIRs over administrative matters. In a prolonged meeting with chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Sunday at his official residence Varsha, office bearers of the association expressed strong displeasure over the situation.

Calming influence: Bureaucrats say the CM did his best to assuage their feelings at the meeting. File pic

Be fair or beware!
“We can get ten times the salary and perks if we decide to join the private sector,” said some of the bureaucrats, expressing anguish over CBI’s treatment to their colleagues as well as the media reporting over the recent leak of the CAG report.

“We are not asking the government to shield the corrupt among us. But the manner in which certain officers were targeted was disturbing for the entire cadre,” the officials said. Their anguish was directed against CBI, which they claim has been high-handed. “Bureaucrats such as Pradip Vyas, who is a secretary-level officer, shouldn’t have been kept in Arthur Road Jail,” the association members argued with Chavan, said a senior IAS officer to MiD DAY.

The babus were also peeved at the coverage of the recent leak of a CAG report in the electronic media in which two senior officers were projected to be involved in corrupt practices for claiming flats in a housing society. The constant media ‘hype’ affected morale of the officers, who despite giving their clarification, were ‘victimised’, they said. Also, in recent times, orders to file an FIR were given against two district collector-level officers. The orders were arbitrary, felt the association, as they were pertaining to the discharge of official duties.

Under FIR-e!
Cops were asked to register FIRs, even though under section 197 of the CrPC a case cannot be registered against any public servant acting in official capacity unless sanctioned by the state government, bureaucrats feel. Officers who participated in the meeting include chief secretary Ratnakar Gaikwad, and his colleagues from the state administration UPS Madan, Ajitkumar Jain, Malini Shankar, Gautam Chatterjee, Sanjay Bhatia and others.

When contacted, Gaikwad confirmed the meeting, saying the CM offered them a patient hearing and did his best to assuage their feelings.
According to a senior bureaucrat, IAS officers have been rather cautious these days over the decision-making, which has affected the efficiency of the Mantralaya, the state government headquarters. Members of the association were keen on the meeting as it was for seeking views of the head of the government.

Turf talk
After the controversies over IAS officers’ membership in different societies, it has been decided to introduce an important amendment to the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code, of which rule no. 27 and 28 deal with the membership in a housing society and allotment of plot for government officers’ housing. Currently, the rules state that an officer cannot become a member in more than one housing society within a particular municipal limit. But an amendment will now be introduced that will bar him from claiming more than one membership in a housing society or a plot approved by the government across the state. Previously it had been observed that many government officers were members in housing societies within the municipal limits of Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Nashik and Nagpur. 

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