Oct. 6: Neera Yadav today became the first chief secretary in the country to be shown the door by the Supreme Court.
The bureaucrat who is facing 18 corruption cases heard the news on TV at 11.30 am in her Lucknow office, switched off her cellphone, picked up her bag and went home.
For the next four hours, Neera waited for the reaction of chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, who had promoted her five months ago.
At 3.30 pm, he said in Allahabad the order was not an embarrassment for his government. “I know who were behind the cases. So I am not surprised,” said Mulayam.
That was the cue for Neera to speak up. “I don’t think this is a handicap in my career,” said the bureaucrat who has thrived irrespective of which party is in power. “This is an issue between the state government and the court. I will fight on and discharge my duties to the government.”
The apex court, acting on a PIL, had ordered that Neera should step down as chief secretary and be transferred to “some other post in the cadre/grade to which she belonged within a week”.
In the evening, she was named chairperson, revenue board, and R. Ramani, the principal secretary, urban development and employment, given additional charge as chief secretary.
A three-judge bench of Justices Ruma Pal, Arijit Pasayat and C.K. Thakker said: “A time has come when postings of officers holding sensitive posts should be done in a transparent manner giving no scope for any grievance.”
The Centre for Public Interest Litigations had pointed out in its petition that 18 cases are pending against Neera and that the CBI has filed criminal chargesheets in seven. All the cases are related to the land allotment scam in Noida, a Delhi suburb, that allegedly took place when she was CEO.