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Dhankhar again summons CS, DGP to Raj Bhawan on Wednesday (Ld)

Kolkata, Jan 11 (IANS) Expressing his displeasure over Chief Secretary Hari Krishna Dwivedi and DGP Manoj Malviya 'skipping' a meeting scheduled with him at 5 pm on Monday, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Tuesday asked the two top state government officials to be present at the Raj Bhawan at 11 am on Wednesday.

Dhankhar had summoned the two top officials of the state government to brief him about an incident involving BJP Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari, who was allegedly stopped from entering Netai village under Binpur block in Jhargram district on Friday.

However, the two officials sent identical messages to Dhankhar that read: "I have been directed to inform you that most of the senior officers are currently down with Corona or their family members are affected, while the remaining are engaged with Gangasagar duty and management of Covid situation. In view of the above, it is requested to reschedule the meeting with senior officers after this current spate of Corona comes down. Report on the above-mentioned incident is being sent."

On Tuesday, Dhankhar again sent a letter to them, saying: "Surely, this is serious dereliction of duty. There is no reason for them not to respond to the pointed issues raised. Both CS and DGP are to be present in the meeting tomorrow at 11 am and if both continue to be ‘in isolation', they should ensure presence of ACS Home and police officials next to the DGP in the meeting, fully updated on the issue already flagged."

Surprised at the 'lackadaisical attitude' of the two top officials, the Governor had earlier wrote: "The content and tenor could not have been more farcical or bereft of fact content. Their action ridicules and affronts the office of Governor, apart from being in outrage of their conduct legal regime. Boycotting a meeting of the Constitutional head, on such flimsy premise, is antithetical to governance in accordance with constitution and law."

"Their action prima facie is in blatant disregard of the All-India Services (Conduct) Rules, 1968. It is noticed from the messages of both the CS - the fulcrum of bureaucracy in the state - and the DGP - whose mechanism of appointment and tenure is secured by the Supreme Court judgment, have imparted messages under 'directions', the authorisation thereof is not spelt out," he added.

"On an issue like this, such lackadaisical approach of the CS and the DGP was not expected. In this situation I am constrained to direct both the CS and the DGP to indicate the authority under whose directions the message was sent to this office and on what legal premise such directive was sought," the Governor said.

The governor's directive to the state administration came after Adhikari had written to Dhankhar alleging that he was not allowed to go to Netai.

Adhikari was going there to pay homage to nine persons who were shot during the Left Front rule in 2011.

Adhikari had complained that on his way to Netai, a huge contingent of West Bengal Police blocked his way, barricading the whole road. He also alleged that he was stopped despite an assurance from the AG to the high court that the Leader of the Opposition was free to go anywhere in the state.

On January 7, 2011 during the Left Front regime, armed goons had fired indiscriminately targeting innocent villagers of Netai, killing nine persons and injuring many more.