Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay – controversially recalled by the centre last week after a row between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee – is unlikely to report to Delhi as ordered, sources told NDTV Monday morning.
Mr Bandyopadhyay was ordered to report to the Department of Personnel and Training by 10 am.
Sources say the state’s top bureaucrat is still in Kolkata and has not yet been relieved of his duties by the Bengal government. According to news agency PTI, he is still scheduled to participate in a Tuesday review meeting to be led by Chief Minister Banerjee.
Mr Bandyopadhyay’s recall order was issued Friday, hours after Mamata Banerjee skipped what was to be a detailed meeting with Prime Minister Modi to assess the impact of Cyclone Yaas.
The Chief Minister and her top bureaucrats were to make a presentation, but she left handing over a report and a 15-minute interaction at the airbase in West Midnapore where his flight landed.
That brief interaction was their first since the explosive April-May Assembly election that saw Ms Banerjee’s Trinamool win a third consecutive term.
A furious Mamata Banerjee on Saturday called the centre’s order “unconstitutional” and “illegal”, and appealed for it to be withdrawn.
“Accept defeat in Bengal (and) stop dirty games,” she said.
The Trinamool has also criticised the centre’s move.
“Has this happened since Independence? Forced central deputation of a Chief Secretary… How much lower will Modi-Shah’s BJP stoop? All because Bengal humiliated the duo and chose Mamata Banerjee with an overwhelming mandate,” party MP Sukhendu Sekhar Ray said.
This is not the first time the centre has recalled top bureaucrats from states to Delhi.
Just before the election in Bengal this year, three Indian Police Service (IPS) officers were recalled.
Mr Bandyopadhyay, a 1987-batch IAS officer from the Bengal cadre, was to retire May 31 but was granted a three-month extension by the Centre to work on Covid management in the state.
The Home Ministry is the cadre-controlling authority for IPS officers, while the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) comes under the Prime Minister’s Office.
The centre invoked Section 6(1) of the IAS (Cadre) Rules while ordering Mr Bandyopadhyay’s recall.
“A cadre officer may, with the concurrence of the state governments concerned and the central government, be deputed for service under the central government or another state government or under a company, association or body of individuals, whether incorporated or not, which is wholly or substantially owned or controlled by the central government or by another state government.”
With input from PTI