Seventy-one former bureaucrats, including former Foreign Secretary and National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, protesting against the government’s decision to grant the Central Bureau of Investigation sanction to prosecute Sindhushree Khullar and other former senior bureaucrats in connection with the INX Media case, The Indian Express reported on Saturday. Khullar was the chief executive officer of NITI Aayog in the Modi government.

The former bureaucrats, most of who were in the Indian Administrative Service, expressed “deep concern” about “selective targeting of retired and serving officers, apparently for gaining narrow political advantages”. The government has also granted prosecution sanction for former MSME Secretary Anup Pujari, former Finance Ministry Director Prabodh Saxena, and Rabindra Prasad, who was an under secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs.

“It will only seem to confirm the worst apprehensions of civil servants, namely, that they will be afforded no protection for bona fide acts in the performance of their official duties,” read the letter. The move will be a dampener in the government’s efforts to provide bureaucrats some legal protection from the Prevention of Corruption Act while they carry out their duties, it added.

“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 former bureaucrats wrote, according to IANS. “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.”

Some of the other notable people who signed the letter are former Cabinet Secretary KM Chandrasekhar, former Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh and former Punjab Director General of Police Julio Riberio.

Former Union finance minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram is being prosecuted in connection with the case. He is in Tihar Jail at present.

Now, follow and debate the day’s most significant stories on Scroll Exchange.