Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
For us to say Orissa is in the grip of dishonest fellows is not new. New for us is that we are not alone. Slowly but steadily many others have started seeing how scoundrels are ruling the roost in Orissa. A sample of this new awakening has hit the police, which, after absorbing the initial jolt of predicament generated by overwhelming material documents against top authorities like the Chief Secretary and the Chief Minister, has at last stated to start investigations.
The crux of the issue is a corruption that Biju regime had started and Navin regime has completed!
It is a single case; but a representative case of nexus domination over administration.
A man was illegally appointed as a manager under the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) in the rank of a Deputy Secretary to Government on 23 April 1994 when Biju Patnaik was the Chief Minister. It was one of many illegalities done during his time.
The person that used the top corridor of Orissa Secretariat to bag the appointment was not qualified for the post. His deficiency was kept a secret and he continued to draw salaries of Deputy Secretary to government.
Comfortably placed, he longed for a promotion specifically as the Pay Commission was likely to sumptuously enlarge pay packages for officials. This made BDA peruse his personal file that brought to attention of the concerned officer the lacunae in his appointment. Then attempts were made to regularize his appointment by obtaining post- facto approval of the Government.
Unavoidably, the file went to the Secretary of Law. The law department refused to recommend for post-facto approval of the illegal appointment and returned the file on 27 February 2007 to the administrative department of Urban Development (UD). The illegalities in appointment having thus been bared by the department of Law, on 8 March 2007, the Special Secretary, UD department put up the matter before the departmental secretary with his observations that the appointment should be nullified and penal prosecution should be initiated against persons responsible for this illegal appointment and swindling of salaries. The Secretary endorsed it to the Chief Secretary on 13 March 2007.
The Chief Secretary, Ajit Kumar Tripathy, accepted the Law department interpretations and approved the views of the Special Secretary of UD and passed orders for fixation of responsibility for the illegality committed. In his note dated 17 March 2007, Tripathy said, “Government need not take lenient view to regularize irregularities like this. Continuance for long periods is no ground for this. I fully agree with the views of Law department. No further action is called for except fixing of responsibility for such action, which should be done”.
But Tripathy had hardly imagined that no illegality done during Biju Patnaik’s Chiefministership could ever be allowed to be shown on records as illegal during the Chiefministership of his son Navin.
His order for fixation of responsibility was treated with the contempt honesty attracts in a climate of dishonesty.
He was forced not to look at previous pages of the concerned file when that should come to his table again.
And, the file, sans compliance of his orders for responsibility fixation came to his table again with recommendation of UD Secretary dated 15 December 2007 for post-facto approval of the appointment viewed as illegal by the department of Law.
Tripathy did not look at the previous pages and endorsed the file to UD Minister, noting as if on dotted lines the words, “as proposed”. The copy of the note-sheet produced here below is suggestive of the tremendous mental trauma that Tripathy was subjected to at that moment. He seems to have deviated from his practice of putting the date below his signature after writing “as proposed”. By simply writing, “as proposed” he had indicated that he had to sign the file on dotted lines. Therefore the file had to return to him from the UD Minister with off the records instructions to express his clear willingness for post-facto approval of the appointment he had earlier refused to approve.
And, Tripathy had to write again, “The justifications are convincing and it is in interest of the organization”. Then the file passed the UD Minister and then the Chief Minister gladly regularized the irregularity committed in his father’s regime.
The person concerned who is now regularized must have enjoyed utmost sadistic pleasure by seeing Tripathy shallow his own bitter pill.
Such a situation hits a State only when the scoundrels rule the roost.
But now, Tripathy is to face the music for not having adhered to principle, as a social activist outfit Kalinga Sena has raised the issue of corruption that the police has taken cognizance of.