The Telangana government on Friday suspended the chief of a civic body who had issued show cause notices to municipal staffers for having skipped birthday celebrations of state minister KT Rama Rao, PTI reported.

Bellampally Municipal Commissioner G Gangadhar had reportedly sent show cause notices to four staff members of the city civic body, asking them why action should not be taken against them. The four employees who received the notices were T Rajeshwari, S Purnachandar, A Mohan and Sravan, , according to The News Minute.

The notices had stated that the four employees had ignored a WhatsApp message directing them to attend celebrations on the occasion of Rao’s birthday. The celebrations were organised by state Minister for Labour and Employment Ch Malla Reddy.

On Friday night, Director of Municipal Administration N Satyanarayana issued an order stating that Gangadhar had sent the notices due to overenthusiasm and without sanction from higher authorities.

“Therefore, after careful examination of the facts and having due regard to the circumstances of the case, it is found necessary to place the services of G Gangadhar, Municipal Commissioner, Bellampally Municipality under suspension pending further enquiry in the matter,” Satyanarayana said in the order, according to PTI.

Earlier on Friday, Rao had said the civic chief’s action was absurd and added that he had told the director of municipal administration to suspend him. “I am the last person to encourage sycophancy in politics or administration,” he said.

On Friday, several political leaders had criticised the notices sent by the Bellampally municipal commissioner.

“Government of Telangana has issued a memo to employees asking them to explain why they didn’t attend Prince KTR’s birthday bash on [July 24],” Bharatiya Janata Party leader Amit Malviya said. “Last we knew, Telangana still had a government that was elected to serve people or has it transformed into a monarchy, fiefdom of KCR family?”

Rao is the son of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao.

State president of the Bahujan Samaj Party RS Praveen Kumar questioned whether there was a democracy or monarchy in Telangana, according to The News Minute.