Though Banerjee did not reveal the nature of her “full support” to the retired IAS officer, sources indicated he might get legal support
Kolkata: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said the controversy over former chief secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay’s bureaucratic stint was a “closed chapter” since he had retired. She added, however, that her government would give “full support” to the retired 1987 batch IAS officer who was pulled up by the Centre through a show-cause notice with penal charges under the Disaster Management Act seeking his explanation for skipping Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s review meeting on the Cyclone Yaas devastation at Kalaikunda airbase on May 28.
“Please do not ask me any questions on Alapan Bandyopadhyay. That chapter is over now,” the CM told the media about her chief adviser in his presence at Nabanna, the state secretariat.
Asked about the show-cause notice by the Centre to Mr Bandyopadhyay, she said: “I have already said I would not make comments on him since he has taken retirement. Still, regarding what is happening with him, the government will give full support to him.”
Though Ms Banerjee did not reveal the nature of her “full support” to the retired IAS officer, official sources indicated the former bureaucrat is likely to get legal assistance from the state government as the Union home ministry has targeted him legally in its show-cause notice to keep the door ajar for his criminal prosecution, that could lead to a prison term of upto two years or a fine, or both.
According to the MHA, Mr Bandyopadhyay, by skipping the PM’s meet, “acted in a manner tantamount to refusing to comply with the lawful directions of the Central government and is thus violative of Section 51(b) of the Disaster Management Act 2005.”
That was why he was “called upon to explain in writing to this ministry within a period of 3 (three) days, as to why action should not be taken against him under Section 51 of the DM Act 2005 for the aforesaid violation” under that law.
It is yet to be confirmed whether Mr Bandyopadhyay, who had indicated on Tuesday he would respond to the notice on proper grounds, had sent his reply to the MHA as the three-day deadline ends on Thursday.