West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said that her government will fully support former state Chief Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay in his tussle with the Centre, reported PTI.
Bandopadhyay retired on Monday and was immediately appointed the chief advisor to Banerjee. She had refused to release him after the Department of Personnel and Training, which comes under the central government, on May 28 directed Bandopadhyay to report to its office at North Block in Delhi by 10 am on Monday.
After this, the Centre shot off another letter asking Bandopadhyay to comply with the May 28 order and report by Tuesday. A show-cause notice was sent to the former chief secretary late on Monday evening under the Disaster Management Act, asking him to explain his absence from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting on Cyclone Yaas.
On Wednesday, Banerjee also claimed that the “Bandopadhyay chapter is now over”. She, however, did not give any explanation behind the statement as the show-cause notice said that Bandyopadhyay’s absence can result in charges, including fine and imprisonment, under the Disaster Management Act.
An unidentified government official said that the state administration was drafting replies to the Centre’s notice. “We are exploring all legal options and the replies will be sent very soon,” the official said.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Trinamool Congress had criticised the Narendra Modi government for issuing a show-cause notice to Bandopadhyay. The party leadership said the notice to the former chief secretary despite him retiring from service was an “act of vengeance”.
While the order to recall Bandopadhay did not mention the reason for the move, it came after he and Banerjee skipped a review meeting on Cyclone Yaas with the prime minister on May 28. The Centre alleged that Banerjee kept Modi and West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar waiting for half an hour.
Banerjee has refuted the claims, saying she handed over a detailed report on the cyclone to the prime minister and after seeking his permission thrice, she left for Digha with Bandopadhay to assess the damage caused by the cyclone.