71 Ex-bureaucrats letter to PM on ‘Selective targetting’

New Delhi: Expressing their concerns over the prosecution of four officials from the finance ministry and ‘selective targeting’, seventy-one retired bureaucrats have written to PM Modi.

In their letter to the PM, the bureaucrats demanded that there should be a reasonable time period to take action against the civil servant, once the time lapses, the files should not be opened, HT reports.

They ex bureaucrats asserted that such action will demotivate diligent and honest officers from taking important decisions.

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The letter has been signed by retired civil servants like former cabinet secretary K M Chandrasekhar, former foreign secretary and national security advisor Shivshankar Menon, former foreign secretary Sujatha Singh and former DGP of Punjab Julio Riberio.

“Selective targeting” of retired and serving officers, apparently for “gaining narrow political advantages” is also a concern of these former bureaucrats.

Last month , the BJP government had issued a sanction to the CBI to prosecute former NITI Aayog CEO Sindhushree Kullar and others in connection with the FIPB clearance granted to INX Media.

The government also sanctioned the prosecution of former secretary of the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Anup K Pujari, the then director in the Finance Ministry Prabodh Saxena, and former under secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs Rabindra Prasad in the case involving INX Media, they said.

The former officials said such actions will confirm that civil servants will get no protection for bona fide acts in the performance of their official duties.

They said all regimes, irrespective of their political affiliations, at both central and state levels, have been “guilty of transgression”.

“Serving officials will naturally be demotivated if diligent and honest officers are selectively targeted for punishment for no fault of theirs other than that they were implementing the policy decisions of the government of the day,” the letter added.

“It will not be surprising if civil servants procrastinate before processing and examining every proposal of importance, as they have no guarantee that they would not be implicated in criminal proceedings many years later,” the letter said.

The letter further added: “It is indeed a travesty when governance systems spare no effort in ensuring that political elements charged with or prosecuted for very serious offences are given latitude while officers who have faithfully served the nation for over three decades are arraigned on the flimsiest of technical grounds. In the interests of justice, we earnestly urge that there be an early resolution of this issue.”

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