The Centre has initiated disciplinary proceedings against former West Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay for “misconduct and misbehaviour”, reported PTI, citing officials. The retired Indian Administrative Services official has 30 days to submit a written statement in his defence.

“Shri Alapan Bandyopadhyay, IAS (Retd) is informed that an inquiry will be held only in respect of the Article of Charge as is not admitted,” the letter by the Department of Personnel and Training read, according to NDTV. “He should, therefore, specifically admit or deny the Article of Charge [allegations based on the first impression].”

The Union government has warned Bandyopadhyay of major penalty proceedings that allows withholding of pension or gratuity, or both, either entirely or partially, an unidentified official told PTI.

The Centre also directed the former West Bengal chief secretary to submit the written statement or personally appear before the specified date.

Bandyopadhyay is now a special advisor to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The controversy

The end of Alapan Bandyopadhyay’s tenure was mired with controversy, with the Narendra Modi government summoning the senior bureaucrat to New Delhi. This was in response to allegations by the Modi government that West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had kept Prime Minister Modi waiting while attending a meeting on the aftermath of Cyclone Yaas on May 28 and had then left without his permission.

West Bengal refused to comply with the Modi government’s summons, terming them in “violation of applicable laws” against “public interest” and “ab initio void”. Instead, Bandyopadhyay retired from the Indian Administrative Service and joined the West Bengal government as a chief advisor to the chief minister, a political appointment that underscored his importance to Banerjee.

With its order to summon Bandyopadhyay to Delhi rendered infructuous, the Modi government also sent Bandyopadhyay a show-cause notice under the Disaster Management Act for allegedly refusing to attend the meeting with Modi. The section under which he has been sent the notice is related to the punishment for refusing to comply with the central or state government’s order with imprisonment up to one year or fine, or both. If the refusal leads to loss of life or imminent danger, the punishment may extend up to two years, according to the section.