Dhankhar gives 7-day deadline to Bengal CS to reply to summons, warns of `serious consequences'
Kolkata, Jan 19 (PTI) West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar has written to the state chief secretary H K Dwivedi, giving him a seven-day deadline to reply why Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari was stopped from going to Jhargram despite a Calcutta High Court order that there should be no restrictions on his movement.
Dwivedi has earlier failed to appear before Governor Dhankar twice despite summons, citing Covid isolation norms.
Earlier on January 7, police had prevented Adhikari from travelling to Netai village in West Bengal’s Jhargram district, where CPI(M) activists had allegedly fired on villagers killing nine people on that day in 2011 during the Left Front rule, to pay his tribute to the victims.
Dhankhar in his strongly worded two-page letter dated January 18 said that this was the "last opportunity" given to the chief secretary to respond in the matter and in case he fails to appear before the Governor this time too, "serious consequences will follow in due course".
The chief secretary would also be required to render full explanation of his acts of omission in the case all through, the governor said.
"Sequence of events leave no manner of doubt that the defiance and dereliction of duty is extreme at the level of the CS. As a matter of fact this stance has become habitual, unmindful of all lawful objections towards this office or rule of law," the letter said.
The governor wrote, "The chief secretary is provided a last opportunity to provide his comprehensive response, in any case not later than seven days from the receipt of this communication" He added that failure to reply would 'be presumed' to mean he is "working in complete disregard of the lawful directives of this office and that his actions are in violation of the All India Service (Conduct) Rules, 1968, as a result of which serious consequences will follow in due course." Dhankhar had on January 8 summoned chief secretary H K Dwivedi and state DGP Manoj Malaviya for an update on the alleged incident where Adhikari was stopped from attending the programme in Jhargram district.
Dhankhar, whose move was prompted by a complaint by Adhikari to Raj Bhavan, had also sought a written report from the two officers.
They had skipped meeting Dhankhar first on January 10 stating that they were "in isolation" and also on January 12 and neither the additional chief secretary, home, nor any police officer next to the DGP had appeared before Dhankhar to provide the update.
Adhikari had claimed that he was stopped by the police from going to Netai in Jhargram despite a Calcutta High Court order that there should be no restrictions on his movement.
As the police did not allow him to proceed to Netai, Adhikari went to nearby Bhimpur and paid tribute to those killed.
Governor Dhankar has had several run-ins in the past with the TM-led government including over appointment and functioning of vice chancellors of state run-universities.
The squabble over what many in the West Bengal government saw as the Governor's "interference" in the running of Universities saw state education minister Bratya Basu suggesting last month that the state should re-look at norms which automatically gives the Governor the titular job of Chancellor of state universities.
Basu took to Twitter to ask "whether we should continue with the colonial legacy of the Governor being the Chancellor of Universities just by the virtue of his post or we should nominate eminent scholars and educationists as Chancellors."