Vijayawada: The government of AP on Tuesday made an unusual decision regarding senior IAS officer Banwar Lal who was superannuated from services as Chief Electoral Officer of Telangana and AP. It decided to reopen a case against him that had been closed by the government itself last year.
Chief secretary Dinesh Kumar released GO No. 2,441 on Tuesday evening with directions to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Banwar Lal, an officer of the 1983 batch.
It is learnt that Mr Lal has been charged with the misuse of power and the unauthorised use of government quarters in Banjara Hills while serving as the district collector of Hyderabad in 2006. The amount that he was liable to pay as part of the disciplinary action against him was originally `15 lakh, but it was later reduced to `4.3 lakh.
According to Memo No. 419/SC.D/A32007-6 dated August 8, 2016, the government had withdrawn the charges against Banwar Lal. The then chief secretary Satya Prakash Tucker had also said that the charges were being dropped.
However, the government has decided to revive the case and ann-ounce disciplinary proceedings on the day of his retirement from service.
According to the GO, the government alleges that Mr Lal ignored the punishment and failed to make any payment. It also directs Mr Lal to submit a written statement of defence and asks whether he wishes to be heard in person within 15 days.
Reacting to the GO, Mr Lal told this paper that the entire matter was false and fabricated. He said that he had received permission from the government to occupy Qr No. 33 up to May 8, 2006.
He said that in February 2007, after his going to the National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD), certain persons with vested interests had received a letter containing fabricated material from the Deputy Collector, and had accordingly framed charges against him despite a UO note having been issued by the Principal Secretary (Political) saying that there was no basis for the framing of charges. “The AP Government has revived the issue at the time of my retirement only to harass and humiliate me and spoil the reputation I have earned in my 34 years of service,” he said.
The allegations against Mr Lal have been made by members of the Telugu Desam party. They claim that he behaved in a biased manner in order to help the opposition party by intentionally delaying the registration of a case against Jagan Mohan Reddy for his comments regarding Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, which were against model code of conduct, during the Nandyal by-poll campaign.