Kolkata: West Bengal’s former chief secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay, who is now the principal adviser to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, has moved Calcutta High Court Tuesday, after the case he had filed before the Central Administrative Tribunal bench in Kolkata was unilaterally transferred to the CAT principal bench in Delhi, The Print has learnt.
A top official of the West Bengal government, who is dealing with the case, told ThePrint that Bandyopadhyay’s case was scheduled to be heard by the CAT Kolkata bench on 24 October, but the case was transferred to Delhi instead. “This action violates the rights of the applicant, who is a retired employee, and the decision was made unilaterally under pressure by the central government, in the interest of the officials in Delhi,” the official alleged.
As reported first by ThePrint, Bandyopadhyay had moved CAT on 8 October, questioning the jurisdiction of the Government of India in initiating the disciplinary action against him.
However, the official said on 13 October that the central government appointed a retired IAS officer senior to Bandyopadhyay as the inquiry officer in the case.
Bandyopadhyay & state govt vs Modi govt
Bandyopadhyay was embroiled in a tussle between the Modi government and Mamata Banerjee’s state government in May. The central government initiated action against him after he wasn’t present to receive PM Modi at the Kalaikunda airbase in West Midnapore. CM Banerjee wasn’t there either.
Then, Bandyopadhyay is alleged to have left a review meeting chaired by the PM on the damage caused by Cyclone Yaas — with sources saying he followed CM Mamata after a brief discussion with Modi.
The case has since turned into that of a retired IAS officer backed by the state government against the central government.
A second senior official of the Bengal government said the investigation against Bandyopadhyay will peruse documents and find evidence to fix his responsibility, after which the central government could impose a penalty on his retirement benefits.
“Bandyopadhyay was called to Delhi by the inquiry officer earlier this month. But he wrote to him stating that he has moved CAT challenging the jurisdiction of the central government initiating such an inquiry process. Now that he has moved the Calcutta High Cost seeking judicial remedy, the matter is now sub judice and it will move like a complete judicial process,” the second official said.
(Edited by Shreyas Sharma)