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HC heat on Sahay transfer pressure

Ranchi, Aug. 30: Jharkhand High Court today issued a notice to Union minister of state for food processing Subodh Kant Sahay, seeking an explanation over the transfer of a CCL officer to the Northeastern Coalfields.

The court also stayed the transfer order of the officer, Hitesh Verma, and asked CCL management to withdraw the relieving order.

Verma had claimed that Sahay was responsible for his transfer from the state capital to Assam.

The coal officer’s mother had used the Right to Information Act to ask Coal India Limited (CIL) — the parent of CCL — to give reasons for the officer’s transfer.

CIL authorities had replied that Verma was being transferred because of the Union minister’s orders.

Verma had annexed the letters furnished by CIL, which show the pressure exerted by the minister in transferring the officer to the Northeastern Coalfields in Assam.

The transfer order violates CIL rules.

Since Sahay was holding a position of power, Verma had stated in his petition before the high court, the minister had wanted Verma transferred because of personal reasons.

Verma also said CCL has not transferred any of its officers in E4 grade, to which he belongs, to the Assam coalfields or vice-versa in the past five years. The officer has been targeted because the Union minister has a personal grudge against him, he had said.

Verma, who is the son-in-law of Sahay’s sister, was earlier posted in the state capital. He has been in the eye of the storm since his wife and Sahay’s niece, Sanjana, died on October 13, 2004. Though it is said that Sanjana died of illness — and medical reports corroborated this claim — the minister and his family held the coal officer responsible for the death and have tried to implicate him in a criminal case. Verma was also sent to jail.

The coal officer was suspended from work when he was in police custody and had resumed work only after he was released from jail in 2005. Soon after that, the coal company was influenced to transfer Verma to Assam.

CCL officers said they often get VIP references for transfers but these have never been vindictive.

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