It’s a typical example of an upright babu victimised and harassed for exposing corruption. Whistleblower bureaucrat Jitendra Gupta who had taken the cudgels against transport mafia in Bihar has sought transfer to another cadre citing safety concerns. According to sources, Dr Gupta has sent his request to the department of personnel and training (DoPT). And now the Supreme Court too has come to his rescue. The apex court has directed the Centre to consider Dr Gupta’s request for change of cadre.
The 2013-batch IAS officer of the Bihar cadre, who is currently posted as officer on special duty in the department of environment and forest in Bihar, came up against the state’s transport mafia, which landed him in jail for a month. However, it was soon established that the bureaucrat was implicated in a fabricated case following which he was given a clean chit by both the Patna high court and the Supreme Court. But evidently the harassment of the babu continues, even after a clean chit from the judiciary.
Loyalty above all
The recent empanelment of 1984 and 1985 batches of IAS officers to secretary level came as a complete surprise to many babus. It is for the first time that the Centre has done so, and some feel that by clubbing two batches together the government has deprived many deserving officers of a chance to be selected. But for obvious reasons, no one serving is willing to speak out. However, some retired babus are not averse to speaking their minds, on behalf of their brethren. One retired secretary-level officer says that the government is changing criteria repeatedly to accommodate those officials who are close to the current political dispensation. Certainly, the list of secretary-equivalent officers has never been as long as the main list. Taking a peek at the near future, it is being said that some babus will serve under their juniors who were selected to the main list.
Around nine IAS officers, who have not been empanelled and working on Central deputation at additional secretary level, will return to their respective parent cadres or continue as subordinate to their same 1984 batch mate officers empanelled for secretary and secretary-equivalent posts in Government of India.
A growing fissure?
The much-awaited secretary-level reshuffle in Dilli has unwittingly revealed that all may not be well between the Prime Minister’s Office and the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh. Behind the public bonhomie, there is a tussle underway over who will have the final say in appointing the chief secretary. Until the secretary reshuffle, most observers had believed that shipping secretary Rajive Kumar was a shoo-in for the post. He apparently represents the Bhumihar lobby, but some insisted, had the support of the PMO. Instead, Mr Kumar gets to stay on in the capital, and has been also saddled with the additional responsibility of road transport and highways.
His removal from the fray leaves the other strong contender Sada Kant, backed by the brahmin lobby, pretty much the new shoo in, even as the search for a Thakur candidate is also on in parallel. Of course, Yogi would no doubt prefer an officer from his own Thakur community. The caste conundrum has complicated this appointment, as both Yogi and the PMO try to push for their favourites. Somewhere in all this, the RSS may even have its own plans. Curiously, many in Dilli are surprised that any differences at all have been hinted at only after two months of Yogi becoming the chief minister. It was assumed that Yogi would wait quietly for six months or so and then impose his chosen babu stealthily. Wonder what’s changed?...