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  Opinion   Columnists  03 Dec 2020  Dilip Cherian | Caste fraud stench in Chhattisgarh secretariat

Dilip Cherian | Caste fraud stench in Chhattisgarh secretariat

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Published : Dec 3, 2020, 9:04 am IST
Updated : Dec 3, 2020, 9:04 am IST

According to Baghel’s instruction, all government servants whose caste certificates are false will be immediately removed from their posts

Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel (Twitter)
 Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel (Twitter)

A “high-level” certification investigation committee set up by the Chhattisgarh government has detected 267 cases of government employees with fake caste certificates. Sources say that chief minister Bhupesh Baghel has given instructions to the state chief secretary, R.P. Mandal, to dismiss all such employees from service, except those who got a stay order from the court.

Most of these cases are pending before the state high court or are adjournment orders. Apparently, in the last two years alone, 75 cases have been detected. Sources say that even after receiving the adjournment order from the court in these cases, several officers and employees are still working in important posts.

The state general administration department has stated that a total of 758 complaints were received by the investigation committee, of which 267 cases of fake caste certificates were detected.

According to Baghel’s instructions, all government servants whose caste certificates are false will be immediately removed from their posts. All such cases will be reviewed department-wise by GAD, which incidentally has 14 employees with fake certificates. The school education department apparently has the highest number of cases — 44!

Gehlot seeks support of retired babus

After surviving the Sachin Pilot threat, Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot is reportedly trying to strengthen his grip on the state administration and neutralise any potential threat. Sources say that following his appointment of 1989-batch IAS officer Niranjan Arya as the state chief secretary, after superseding 10 IAS officers, Mr Gehlot is now in a placatory mode.

According to sources, Mr Gehlot is now seeking the support of retired scheduled caste officers, in a possible caste twist to an administrative move. He has recently profusely thanked former IAS officers like Mahendra Singh, Lalit Panwar and retired IPS officers Jaswant Sampatram and R.P. Singh, among others, for their acknowledging that Mr Arya’s appointment was “a step in the right direction”.

This will clearly dilute the eddy currents from many other senior officers. They, of course, are unhappy with Mr Gehlot’s rather overt attempt to seek the support of retired officers for the successful tenure of his new chief secretary.

Was Mr Gehlot being merely polite in responding to the retired officers’ congratulatory letter on Mr Arya’s promotion or is it a step towards garnering support to consolidate his power base in the state administration? As a seasoned politician, he certainly knows the value of ticking off more checkboxes. We’ll have to wait and see whether this works.

ED chief gets extension

S.K. Mishra will be the first director of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to serve for three years. The Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer, who is from the 1984-batch, was appointed to the post in November 2018 for a fixed tenure of two years. But just before his term was to end, the government modified the earlier order to the effect that the tenure will last for three years. The modification was reportedly done on the legal opinion by the solicitor general since the CVC Act has no mention of extension for the post of ED director.

Initially, sources say the government had considered taking the ordinance route but opted for the CVC committee since the appointment of the ED director is governed by the CVC Act.

As ED chief, Mr Mishra is in charge of several high profile and sensitive investigations including Augusta Westland, Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar, Yes Bank and others. Does the government want to ensure there is no disruption in the probes of these cases by appointing a new ED chief? We can only speculate.

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Tags: bhupesh baghel government, ashok ghelot, government officers fake caste certificate