Former West Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay on Thursday responded to the central government’s show-cause notice to him that had asked for an explanation for skipping a cyclone review meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 28, The Telegraph reported.

Bandopadhyay denied abstaining the PM’s meeting, and said that “as per the directive of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee” he left for a review of cyclone-hit Digha town, reported NDTV. Bandyopadhyay had sent his reply on Thursday, but officials at the state Secretariat Nabanna refused to reveal the contents of the letter, according to the Hindustan Times.

Bandopadhyay retired as the chief secretary on Monday but was immediately appointed the chief advisor to Chief Minister Banerjee. The chief minister had refused to release him after the Department of Personnel and Training, which comes under the central government, directed Bandopadhyay on May 28 to report to its office at North Block in Delhi by 10 am on May 31.

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 on Monday evening under the Disaster Management Act, asking him to explain his absence from the meeting on Cyclone Yaas with the prime minister.

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.

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