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27 Feb 2017

State stares at IAS officers' revolt

IAS  officers form a human chain outside the Raj Bhavan on Sunday to protest against Sudhir Kumar’s arrest. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey
Ramashankar, TT, Patna, Feb. 26: The state's IAS officers today resolved not to take verbal instructions from any higher ups, including the chief minister, veritably raising a banner of revolt over the arrest of Bihar Staff Selection Commission Chairman of (BSSC) Sudhir Kumar for the BSSC paper leak.
A press note issued by the state's IAS Officers' Association, which bore the signatures of secretary Vivek Kumar Singh and treasurer Dipak Kumar Singh, said: "The association resolves that all further verbal instructions from any higher office, including the office of the honourable chief minister, shall not be complied with unless given in writing."
The association in its meeting also decided that no member would accept the posts of BSSC chairman, controller of examination of the Bihar Combined Entrance Competitive (BCEC) examination, or chairman of the technical services recruitment board.
Bihar cadre officers were no longer feeling secure in performing their official duties, the association said, adding that officers feared executive decisions would be interpreted as wrongdoing.
The association resolved that its members would wear black batches as a mark of protest and their agitation would continue till their demands were met.
"The association demands that the BSSC case be transferred to the CBI, which will be in a better position to independently establish links beyond the officials, as repeated reports have suggested interference and/or patronage of persons with clout," the association maintained.
It described Kumar, a 1987 batch officer, as one of the finest officers, resolved to stand bear legal and other expenses on Kumar's behalf, and called his arrest unwarranted.
"We are amazed that Kumar, a serving IAS officer, was arrested," said Dipak Kumar Singh. "There was no hurry to take such a decision when the officer was cooperating in the investigation."
The association members also called on Governor Ram Nath Kovind to submit a memorandum which, apart from raising other points, demanded a CBI probe into the BSSC paper leak. While the delegation was interacting with governor inside the Raj Bhavan, around 50 IAS officers made a human chain outside the colonial era building expressing solidarity with Sudhir.
The governor is learnt to have told the five-member delegation that he would look into their grievances.
"The governor too agreed that the situation was not good and also expressed concern over rise in such cases (read arrest of IAS officers)," a senior IAS officer said under cover of anonymity.
Last year, the association had protested the arrest of an IAS officer, posted as sub-divisional officer of Mohania in Kaimur district, by the vigilance investigation bureau on bribery charges. Later, the Patna High Court quashed the FIR against the officer.
Accusing the police brass of double standards, the members of the IAS association alleged that investigation was going on at snail's pace and no one could be arrested in other cases such as the sex scandal (sexual exploitation case of a minor girl in Patna) or the case related to irregularities in recruitment at the Bihar Agricultural University in Sabour in which JDU legislator Mewalal Choudhary (now suspended) was named.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar refused to make any comment on the IAS officers' angst. RJD chief Lalu Prasad said: "As far as I know him (Sudhir Kumar), he is an honest and efficient officer." The officer may have been framed in the case, he added. So far 30 persons, including BSSC secretary Parmeshwar Ram, have been arrested in the question paper leak case.
The Bihar Administrative Service Association (BASA) has also taken strong exception to disciplinary action initiated against two of its members in connection with the boat tragedy that killed 24 persons on January 14 this year.
The association has threatened an agitation if its demands are not fulfilled.
Ruing the state of affairs with the bureaucracy seeming to have lost confidence in its political masters, 1961 batch Bihar-cadre retired IAS officer R.U. Singh said that in the 1950s when Shri Krishna Singh was the CM he had stood with a district magistrate when some local residents had raised slogans against the DM. "I wish the present outfits could take a leaf from that past era," the retired bureaucrat said.

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