CM orders CS showcause

Rajbala Verma

Ranchi: Chief minister Raghubar Das has directed the personnel department to showcause chief secretary Rajbala Verma, demanding to know why departmental proceedings should not be initiated against her for alleged lapses related to the fodder scam in 1990-91 when she had been West Singhbhum deputy commissioner under the regime of then united Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad.

Receiving the order letter, personnel, administrative reforms and rajbhasha department principal secretary Nidhi Khare on Monday said that the notice would be served to Verma, who is expected to retire in February, "very soon".

"I received the chief minister's order (letter). Appropriate action will be taken very soon," Khare said.

The development has come as a rude jolt to Verma's enviable career at a time when it is being perceived that the government will consider her service extension.

The chief minister is learnt to have passed the order on Sunday night based on the proposal of his cabinet colleague and parliamentary affairs minister Saryu Roy.

Roy had wanted the chief minister to start departmental proceedings against Verma in tune with the CBI's recommendations in the fodder scam case related to the Chaibasa treasury (West Singhbhum).

The CBI, while probing Case RC 50A/96, had observed that in her capacity as district treasury custodian, Verma did not apprise the accountant-general of gross irregularities and reportedly did not put her signature on audit reports. The CBI court's verdict on this case is expected soon.

In his letter to Das, minister Roy had also complained that Verma had not responded to more than 15 showcause notices in this matter issued by Jharkhand chief secretaries between 2003 and 2014. Roy's letter has been attached with the order to Khare.

A highly placed source in bureaucracy said if Verma gave satisfactory answers to the showcause notice or tendered an apology for inadvertent mistakes on her part, she would be exonerated like the three other IAS officers of united Bihar - Anjani Kumar Singh, Gorelal Yadav and Vijay Raghavan who were also served showcauses related to their roles in the fodder scam.

But, if the state government decides to initiate departmental proceedings against her, it would have to approach the Centre to appoint a presiding officer, since Verma happens to be Jharkhand's senior-most bureaucrat.

Verma's loyalists in the bureaucracy are already seething at this turn of events.

"If the chief minister acts tough with the chief secretary, we will also explore the Election Commission's recommendation to nail ADG-ranked officer Anurag Gupta and chief minister's then political adviser Ajay Kumar (currently media adviser) for influencing voters during the 2016 Rajya Sabha biennials," said a senior home department official.


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