Bengal govt starts acting tough on Partha Chatterjee's confidant bureaucrats

by IANS |

Kolkata, Aug 6 (IANS) After Partha Chatterjee was stripped of all his ministerial and party portfolios, the bureaucrats, considered as close confidants of the former West Bengal Minister, has started feeling the administrative heat.

Two of these bureaucrats have been sent on compulsory waiting for an indefinite period by the state personnel and administrative reforms department, which is under the direct control of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The most among the two is Sukanta Acharya, a West Bengal Civil Service (Executive Office), who had been the personal assistant to Chatterjee during his tenure as the state education minister, as well as when he was the commerce & industries minister.

In the 2016 West Bengal Assembly election, Acharya was also the returning officer for Behala (West) constituency, where Chatterjee had been the five-time Trinamool Congress legislator since 2001.

The second bureaucrat to be slapped with a similar compulsory waiting order for an indefinite period is Probir Bandopadhyay, the officer-on-special duty to the state Parliamentary Affairs Department, which was under Chatterjee's control since 2011 when Trinamool came to power in West Bengal for the first time ousting the 34-year-long Left Front rule.

Acharya had been under the Enforcement Directorate's (ED) scanner, since the central agency took over the investigation of the multi-crore West Bengal School Service Commission (WBSSC) recruitment irregularities scam.

He had been detailed and questioned a number of times and his residence was also raided by the probe agency.

On the other hand, according to state personnel & administrative reforms department sources, there had been no such central agency action against Bandopadhyay so far.

"But the instructions of sending them on compulsory waiting for an indefinite period has come from the topmost level. We feel that there will be more such compulsory waiting orders and punishment postings in the coming days," said an officer of the department.

Sending bureaucrats and police officers on compulsory waiting in West Bengal had been a routine trend since 2011.

The most relevant example had been that of former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, Gaurav Chandra Dutt, who took voluntary retirement after being on compulsory waiting for around seven years and later even committed suicide after being denied of certain retirement benefits.

However, this is for the time that two officers considered extremely close to the state ruling party had been sent on compulsory waiting and that too for an indefinite period.

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