Hyderabad: In a new twist to the controversy surrounding the “absence” of AP Chief Secretary L.V. Subrahmanyam from the review meeting chaired by Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Cyclone Fani, it turns out that the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) did not intimate the officer about the meeting. The top most government functionary is said to have learnt about the meeting from other officers, who were asked by the CMO to be present.
On Friday, an angry Chief Minister had said that all officials including the Chief Secretary report to him and that he would initiate serious action against those who violate norms. He said he would be holding a Cabinet meeting next week and take action against Mr Subrahmanyam. “Did the CS not know about reporting to the CM,” Mr Naidu had asked.
Government sources privy to the matter told Deccan Chronicle that, as per the normal practice, a notice from the CMO goes to the Chief Secretary whenever review meetings are held by the Chief Minister. In this particular case, Mr Subrahmanyam, it is learnt, was not informed about the meeting and chose to stay away. Whether the CMO deliberately chose to ignore the Chief Secretary or it was an error is not known.
Sources said that when the intimation was sent to other officials to attend the meeting, they informed the Chief Secretary. “The Chief Secretary advised us to attend the meeting,” one of them disclosed. Incidentally, Special Chief Secretary in the CMO Satish Chandra is on a holiday to Singapore and Malaysia and officials say that in his absence other officials were coordinating with the departments concerned.
Officials said that in the normal course, if a Chief Minister wants the Chief Secretary to be specifically present, the CMO informs the Chief Secretary. In this particular case, nothing of this sort seems to have happened.
Sources said that ever since the Election Commission appointed Mr Subrahmanyam as Chief Secretary, he has called on the Chief Minister once, on April 8, after he took charge. Thereafter, sources say there is no communication from the CMO to the Chief Secretary.
However, Mr Subrahmanyam has been sending all relevant reports to the CMO including the one wherein IAS officer Manmohan Singh conducted an inquiry into the affairs of the TTD following the seizure of 1,381 kg gold and pointed out lapses on the part of the TTD in handling the matter. The Chief Secretary had recommended that the Chief Minister pull up TTD Executive Officer A.K. Singhal for the way he handled the affair.
“As far as this issue is concerned, I feel the Chief Secretary may have taken guidance of the Election Commission. The EC may have advised him to stay away and let other officials attend the meeting. In the normal course, the CMO issues a notice to the Chief Secretary about the meeting. It is up to the CS to decide what meeting he should attend and what he should not unless the CM wants the CS to be specifically present,” said former chief secretary I.Y.R. Krishna Rao.
Another former chief secretary, Mr Mohan Kanda, said: “There is rule when it comes to meetings. I am not privy to information of whether or not the CMO sent the notice to the CS. But, in administration, these issues are matter of routine. Many a times, it is the Chief Secretary who requests the CM to fix the date and time of meeting.”