DoPT directs Odisha Chief Secretary to address BJP MP’s complaint against IAS officer

Bhubaneswar: The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has directed the Chief Secretary of Odisha, Pradeep Kumar Jena, to address a complaint lodged by BJP MP Aparajita Sarangi and Odisha BJP President Manmohan Samal. Aparajita Sarangi shared the letter from the DoPT on her Twitter account, disclosing this information.

The letter was issued in response to a complaint accompanied by a CD and pen drive, which were submitted by the MP and the state BJP president. The complaint alleges violations of Conduct Rules by an IAS officer belonging to the Odisha cadre.

Aparajita Sarangi tweeted, “The Government of India has taken note of the violation of Conduct Rules by an officer in Odisha. Based on substantial evidence of the violation, the DoPT has instructed the Chief Secretary to take appropriate action, as the state serves as the cadre-controlling authority. We hope that the law will be allowed to take its course.”

However, neither the BJP MP nor the letter revealed the identity of the IAS officer against whom the complaint was filed.

During a press conference held on June 17, Aparajita Sarangi accused a secretary-rank officer of wielding excessive control over the state government. She demanded clarification from the Chief Minister regarding whether the officer had been attending public meetings with his permission. Although Sarangi did not mention the officer by name, she was referring to the Chief Minister’s secretary, V.K. Pandian.

On Monday, VK Pandian played an audio recording at a public meeting in Barpali, in which Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik stated that he had assigned the IAS officer to listen to the grievances of the people.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Odisha Congress Campaign Committee and former Odisha Chief Secretary, Bijay Patnaik, wrote to the central government, urging them to take disciplinary action against Pandian.

In his letter to the Secretary of the DoPT, Bijay Patnaik alleged that VK Pandian’s name appeared on a billboard displaying the symbol of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the ruling party in Odisha. The billboard, located at Hatibadi Road, Ram Nagar in Gajapati district, stated that a sum of Rs 20 lakh had been sanctioned for a church during Pandian’s visit in August. Patnaik claimed that this act violated Rule 5 of the AIS Conduct Rules.

Patnaik wrote in his letter, “He (Pandian) attends public meetings and proclaims that he has been deputed by the Chief Minister to make announcements of grants. However, according to the Conduct Rules, no serving officer is permitted to represent a political functionary in a public gathering.” Patnaik further noted that since the officer currently serves as the Private Secretary to the Chief Minister of Odisha, it would be futile to expect the Chief Minister to take action against him for such violations of the rules.

Considering the serious nature of these allegations, which may set an unfavorable precedent for officers of the All India Services across the country, the Congress leader requested the DoPT Secretary to conduct an inquiry into Pandian’s actions and take appropriate action promptly.