Do Officers Blackmail the Chief Minister to Bag Post-Retirement Posts?

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Former Vigilance SP Debadatta Patnaik recently attracted Assembly attention because of the suspicion that his service has been extended after retirement to keep him pleased not to reveal what he really knows about the person due to whose patronization mines scam has engulfed Orissa.

Debadatta is not the only Officer who has been rewarded with re-employment after their retirement.

Very recently, Dhobei Charan Sahoo has been re-employed as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) in the department of General Administration. Before retirement, he was Additional Secretary in the same department in charge of the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. And it is known that the CMRF distributes several crores of Rupees under discretion of the CM. The fund is not audited and discrepancies galore as no uniform yardsticks for allocation are followed.

Just before Sahoo, the Officer who was rewarded with post-employment posting is B.S. Deo. He is a rare Officer who could be cited as an example of niceness in administration. He is efficiency, honesty, impartiality and probity personified. He has been appointed as a member of Orissa Public Service Commission. He is the first from OAS officers to have this appointment. It is not that there is no precedence. Decades ago, Hemant Kumar Das of Orissa Financial Service (OFS) had also been appointed as member of OPSC. So Deo’s appointment as member of OPSC is absolutely perfect. Yet, it needs be noted that before being appointed as member of OPSC, he was special Secretary to the Chief Minister and in that capacity was privy to the CM’s many decisions.

The OPSC seems to be a sanctuary for Officers that were close to the CM before their retirement from government service. Because, besides Deo, two other Officers, viz. Manoranjan Sharan and Krushna Chandra Mohapatra, close to the CM in their respective times in his Secretariat were rewarded with post-retirement posting as member of the OPSC.

The other Officer to have been thus rewarded because of being privy to the CM’s deals is Pramod Kumar Mohanty who was his Special Secretary and despite heading the Parliamentary Affairs department, was continuing as such till retirement on superannuation. Even before he was to hand over charges on retirement, he was appointed as member of Orissa Information Commission.

The Information Commission is now being headed by Tarun Kanti Mishra, who retired as the Chief Secretary of Orissa. Another retired Chief Secretary Ajit Kumar Tripathy has been appointed as the State Election Commission. As former Chief Secretaries, both of them were certainly privy to CM’s deals in matter of the Tatas, Vedanta , Posco and the likes.

This unprecedented rise of re-employment of retired Officers who, during their respective times in Government, were privy to deals of the CM, in the context of words uttered in Orissa Assembly about Vigilance SP Debadatta Patnaik’s continuance in job after retirement, prods one to ask: do they blackmail the CM to bag post-retirement postings like this? The question seems more pertinent; because, no Officer from outside the CM’s Secretariat is found to have bagged post-retirement appointments to such top positions in such spirituous speed.

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