Patna: Known for his ‘no-nonsense’ approach, senior IAS officer K.K. Pathak landed in a controversy when a video went viral in which he seemingly uses expletives to pull up a deputy collector at a departmental meeting.
Pathak is currently the principal secretary of the Bihar excise department and is entrusted by CM Nitish Kumar to enforce dry laws in the eastern state. Apart from the excise department, the 1990 batch IAS officer also heads the Bihar Institute Public Administration and Rural Department (BIPARD).
At a departmental meeting Thursday, Pathak lost his cool and chided the deputy collector in front of his other colleagues. The video is reported to be from a meeting of BIPARD — the apex institute of training and research for public administration, rural development, disaster management, panchayati raj, NGO, urban development, water management and sanitation among others.
Accusing him of intimidation and abuse, the Bihar Administrative Service Association (BASA) Thursday lodged an FIR against the IAS officer who was on central deputation but brought back to the state in November 2021 on the chief minister’s insistence.
“The incident is unfortunate and such officials with such mentality should be removed,” BASA president Sunil Kumar told ThePrint.
State officials complain that Pathak tried to introduce a ‘military type’ training and BASA had objected to the training. Pathak in response reportedly cancelled the registration of BASA
ThePrint has a copy of the letter Pathak wrote to the chief secretary on 10 December last year in which he talked about training two batches of officers and mentioned that the state officers were “indisciplined”, “self delusional” and have “a weird sense of superiority complex and self entitlement”.
When contacted by ThePrint for his reaction about the video, Bihar excise minister Sunil Kumar admitted that he had gone through the video. “We will take appropriate action after probing the matter,” he said.
ThePrint reached out to Pathak for his comment but he was not available. This report will be updated when a response is received.
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This is not the first time that Pathak has courted controversy. In the 1990s when Pathak was the Giridh deputy commissioner, he allegedly beat up a journalist for filing what he called a distorted report.
In 2005 when he was the Gopalganj district magistrate, he refused to wait for a VIP to inaugurate a newly constructed building in the local hospital and instead got the hospital sweeper to inaugurate the building. The episode had left local MP Sadhu Yadav fuming as money for the work was provided from the MPLAD fund.
“It almost looks as if he invites controversies and he never regrets abusing others,” a senior IAS officer said, pointing out that when Pathak was posted in districts, he usually ended up rubbing local authorities the wrong way but always got the applause of the people.
Even in his present role as the principal secretary of the Bihar excise department, the IAS officer said, Pathak has registered cases against politicians for violating rules.
“Pathak is an honest, hardworking and effective officer. He delivers. But at the same time, he is short tempered and eccentric and believes that he is the only honest person and others are thieves. However, the basic point is that you may be honest and effective. But you don’t have the right to abuse anyone. It is against the conduct of an officer,” V. S. Dubey, a former chief secretary of Bihar, told ThePrint.
(Edited by Tony Rai)
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