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71 ex-bureaucrats write to PM against prosecution of 4 former officials in INX Media case

The retired civil servants also expressed concern over 'selective targeting' of retired and serving officers which included 4 finance ministry officials.

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New Delhi: Seventy-one retired bureaucrats on Friday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressing concern over the prosecution of four former officials of the Finance Ministry in the INX Media case and asserted that such action will demotivate diligent and honest officers from taking important decisions.

They demanded that there should be a reasonable period of time after which files should not be reopened.

The letter has been signed by retired civil servants like former cabinet secretary K M Chandrasekhar, former foreign secretary and national security advisor Shivshankar Menon, former foreign secretary Sujatha Singh and former DGP of Punjab Julio Riberio.

The ex-bureaucrats also expressed concern over “selective targeting” of retired and serving officers, apparently for “gaining narrow political advantages”.

Also read: No relief for Chidambaram, judicial custody in INX Media case extended till 17 October

Last month, the government issued a sanction to the CBI to prosecute former NITI Aayog CEO Sindhushree Kullar and others in connection with the FIPB clearance granted to INX Media, officials said.

Besides Khullar, the government also sanctioned the prosecution of former secretary of the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Anup K Pujari, the then director in the Finance Ministry Prabodh Saxena, and former under secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs Rabindra Prasad in the case involving INX Media, they said.

The government had already sanctioned the prosecution of former finance minister P Chidambaram in February this year, following which he was arrested by the CBI.

The officers also hit out at the government for making officers bear the brunt of criminal proceedings that “originate from settling of political scores”.

The former officials said this will only seem to confirm the worst apprehensions of civil servants that they will get no protection for bona fide acts in the performance of their official duties.

They said all regimes, irrespective of their political affiliations, at both central and state levels, have been “guilty of transgression”.

Also read: Let us hope Amit Shah puts the entire opposition in jail

“Serving officials will naturally be demotivated if diligent and honest officers are selectively targeted for punishment for no fault of theirs other than that they were implementing the policy decisions of the government of the day,” the letter added.

“It will not be surprising if civil servants procrastinate before processing and examining every proposal of importance, as they have no guarantee that they would not be implicated in criminal proceedings many years later,” the letter said.

The retired bureaucrats said rules must be framed to make the legal principle of estoppel apply on reopening decisions based on information provided at the time the decision was taken.

If files are allowed to be “exhumed and dissected on the basis of hindsight and that too with no bar on the time that has elapsed”, no decisions will be made at all in government, they added.

“It is indeed a travesty when governance systems spare no effort in ensuring that political elements charged with or prosecuted for very serious offences are given latitude while officers who have faithfully served the nation for over three decades are arraigned on the flimsiest of technical grounds. In the interests of justice, we earnestly urge that there be an early resolution of this issue,” the letter said.

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  1. The power and privileges of a Babu in service breads unmatched arrogance. The unwritten freemasonry protects them to no end. How many babus have the exposed their kind? At best a clean babu is personally clean but he will just no last as a crusader against corruption. They have used the corrupt and illiterate politicians to feather their nets. When a clean administration wants an accountability from them they want reasonable time bar. Sir, the white collared crime is a work of immaculate planning by people of authority, if their pears do not expose them in time, the time bar will only help them get away. How many of these 74 respected babus have caught their pears.

  2. Throughout history you will find instances of once powerful becoming the victims of same power games they once played.

  3. That is what the ex bureaucrats are saying – ‘they should be immune to wrongdoing prosecution even if enough evidence exists’.

    I think this stand taken by retired bureaucrats is questionable?

  4. This is one of the rare instances where I agree with this government.
    Dishonesty is dishonesty, what ever the circumstances.
    Let this be a lesson every official, they should have backbone and resist the dishonest actions of politicians, they must not take part in them, the must not condone them, they must not turn a blind eye to them.
    Bureaucrats should be fiercely independent Vision is made that they can never be sacked from the service in ordinary circumstances only transferred , If they choose to lose their independence to politicians and they know and participate in dishonest actions they must face the consequences.

  5. No ex-bureaucrat should be spared if found with misdeeds done in the past under pressure from politicians as bureaucrats are required to be fare in all circumstances otherwise they should resign instead of becoming pans of politicians.

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