An Indian Administrative Service officer in Bihar has been suspended for issuing a pass to a Bharatiya Janata Party legislator to travel to Kota to bring back his daughter amid the countrywide coronavirus lockdown, PTI reported on Wednesday.
Anu Kumar, the sub-divisional officer of Sadar, Nawada district, was charged with negligence of duty and was suspended for facilitating inter-state travel for BJP leader Anil Singh, who represents the Hisua Assembly segment, a notification issued by Bihar’s general administration department said.
The authorities said Kumar will be attached to the office of the divisional commissioner of the Magadh division during the course of his suspension, and recommended disciplinary action against him.
The BJP legislator had obtained the travel permit on April 15. He left for Rajasthan the next day to bring back his 17-year-old daughter, who is a medical student. Singh claimed his daughter had sunk into depression after she was stranded alone in Kota, as most of the other students at her hostel left and her coaching classes were suspended.
Singh’s driver was also issued a showcause notice on Monday for taking a government-owned vehicle out of the state without the approval of the secretariat. Singh, being the party’s chief whip in the Bihar Assembly, was provided the vehicle in that capacity.
However, the BJP legislator claimed he did not travel by the government-owned car, but instead used his private vehicle for the journey, even though he had obtained passes for both vehicles “by a way of abundant caution”.
Meanwhile, the Opposition accused the Janata Dal United-led government in the state, a BJP ally, of extending facilities to a “VIP belonging to the ruling coalition, while speaking of commitment to the nationwide lockdown”.
This also came at a time when Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has expressed his strong disapproval of the Uttar Pradesh government sending buses to bring back stranded students from Kota. Kumar had denounced the move, calling it a “mockery” of the lockdown, and said it seemed like states are facilitating students but “making excuses” when it comes to allowing migrant workers to return to their homes.
Kota, known for its coaching centres, has around 7,500 students from Uttar Pradesh living in paying guest accommodations or hostels. They have been anxious to return to their homes since the lockdown was imposed on March 25. It was initially supposed to end on April 14 but was extended till May 3.