INX Media Case: 71 former bureaucrats write open letter to PM Narendra Modi

On October 4th, 71 retired civil servants penned an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressing concern and apprehension over the sanction of prosecution of former officials involved in the INX Media Case. They have urged the Prime Minister to “make the legal principle of estoppel apply on reopening decisions based on information provided at the time the decision was taken.”

Of the 71 signatories, 56 were in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), 5 were in the Indian Police Service (IPS), 7 were in the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), and 1 each in the Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IA&AS), Indian Forest Service (IFoS), Indian Engineering Service (IES).

Indus Dictum has reproduced in full the text of the open letter below:


OPEN LETTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA:

VICTIMISATION OF HONEST CIVIL SERVANTS

4 October 2019

Dear Sir,

We write to you to express the deep concern of our group of former civil servants at the selective targeting of retired and serving officers, apparently for gaining narrow political advantages.   

Having served government all our working lives, it is our duty to point out the very dangerous repercussions that the latest move to prosecute four former officers of the Ministry of Finance – Smt. Sindhushree Khullar, Shri Anup Pujari,  Shri Prabodh Saxena and Shri Rabindra Prasad – in the INX Media case are bound to have on serving officers. Government had made an effort to avoid policy paralysis by amending the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act last year and making it mandatory to obtain the prior sanction of government before prosecuting retired and serving officers. This latest move will serve as a severe dampener to this effort. It will only seem to confirm the worst apprehensions of civil servants, namely, that they will be afforded no protection for bona fide acts in the performance of their official duties. Henceforth, it will not be surprising if civil servants procrastinate before processing and examining every proposal of importance, as they have no guarantee that they would not be implicated in criminal proceedings many years later. 

 It is most unfortunate that officers, especially those no longer in service, are made to bear the brunt of criminal proceedings that originate from settling of political scores. All regimes, irrespective of their political affiliations, at both central and state levels, have been guilty of this transgression. Serving officials will naturally be demotivated if diligent and honest officers are selectively targeted for punishment for no fault of theirs other than that they were implementing the policy decisions of the government of the day.

We are of the firm view that Rules must be framed to make the legal principle of estoppel apply on reopening decisions based on information provided at the time the decision was taken. If files are allowed to be exhumed and dissected on the basis of hindsight and that too with no bar on the time that has elapsed, no decisions will be made at all in government. There should be a reasonable period after which files should not be reopened. Officers, particularly after retirement, need that reassurance to lead a peaceful post-government life.

It is indeed a travesty when governance systems spare no effort in ensuring that political elements charged with or prosecuted for very serious offences are given latitude while officers who have faithfully served the nation for over three decades are arraigned on the flimsiest of technical grounds. In the interests of justice, we earnestly urge that there be an early resolution of this issue.

Yours faithfully,

(71 signatories, as below)

1.     

Anita Agnihotri

IAS (Retd.)

Former Secretary, Department of Social Justice Empowerment, GoI

2.       

Salahuddin Ahmad

IAS (Retd.)

Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Rajasthan

3.     

V.S. Ailawadi

IAS (Retd.)

Former Vice Chairman, Delhi Development Authority

4.       

Shafi Alam

IPS (Retd.)

Former Director General, National Crime Records Bureau, GoI

5.       

S.P. Ambrose

IAS (Retd.)

Former Additional Secretary, Ministry of Shipping & Transport, GoI

6.       

N. Bala Baskar

IAS (Retd.)

Former Principal Adviser (Finance), Ministry of External Affairs, GoI

7.       

G. Balachandhran

IAS (Retd.)

Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal

8.       

Vappala Balachandran

IPS (Retd.)

Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, GoI

9.       

Gopalan Balagopal

IAS (Retd.)

Former Special Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal

10.    

Chandrashekhar Balakrishnan

IAS (Retd.)

Former Secretary, Coal, GoI

11.    

Sharad Behar

IAS (Retd.)

Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh

12.    

Madhu Bhaduri

IFS (Retd.)

Former Ambassador to Portugal

13.    

Pradip Bhattacharya

IAS (Retd.)

Former Additional Chief Secretary, Development & Planning and Administrative Training Institute, Govt. of West Bengal

14.    

Meeran C Borwankar

IPS (Retd.)

Former DGP, Bureau of Police Research and Development, GoI

15.    

Ravi Budhiraja

IAS (Retd.)

Former Chairman, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, GoI

16.    

Sundar Burra

IAS (Retd.)

Former Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra

17.    

R. Chandramohan

IAS (Retd.)

Former Principal Secretary, Transport and Urban Development, Govt. of NCT of Delhi

18.    

K.M. Chandrasekhar

IAS (Retd.)

Former Cabinet Secretary, GoI

19.    

Kalyani Chaudhuri

IAS (Retd.)

Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal

20.    

Anna Dani

IAS (Retd.)

Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra

21.    

Vibha Puri Das

IAS (Retd.)

Former Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, GoI

22.    

P.R. Dasgupta

IAS (Retd.)

Former Chairman, Food Corporation of India, GoI

23.    

Pradeep K. Deb

IAS (Retd.)

Former Secretary, Deptt. Of Sports, GoI

24.    

Nitin Desai

IES (Retd.)

Former Secretary and Chief Economic Adviser, Ministry of Finance, GoI

25.    

Keshav Desiraju

IAS (Retd.)

Former Health Secretary, GoI

26.    

M.G. Devasahayam

IAS (Retd.)

Former Secretary, Govt. of Haryana

27.    

K.P. Fabian

IFS (Retd.)

Former Ambassador to Italy

28.    

Gourisankar Ghosh

IAS (Retd.)

Former Mission Director, National Drinking Water Mission, GoI

29.    

S.K. Guha

IAS (Retd.)

Former Joint Secretary, Department of Women & Child Development, GoI

30.    

Meena Gupta

IAS (Retd.)

Former Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests, GoI

31.    

Ravi Vira Gupta

IAS (Retd.)

Former Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India

32.    

Sajjad Hassan

IAS (Retd.)

Former Commissioner (Planning), Govt. of Manipur

33.    

Siraj Hussain

IAS (Retd.)

Former Secretary, Department of Agriculture, GoI

34.    

Kamal Jaswal

IAS (Retd.)

Former Secretary, Department of Information Technology, GoI

35.    

Vinod C. Khanna

IFS (Retd.)

Former Additional Secretary, MEA, GoI

36.    

K. John Koshy

IAS (Retd.)

Former State Chief Information Commissioner, West Bengal

37.    

Ajai Kumar

Indian Forest Service (Retd.)

Former Director, Ministry of Agriculture, GoI

38.    

Arun Kumar

IAS (Retd.)

Former Chairman, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority, GoI

39.    

Harsh Mander

IAS (Retd.)

Govt. of Madhya Pradesh

40.    

Lalit Mathur

IAS (Retd.)

Former Director General, National Institute of Rural Development, GoI

41.    

Aditi Mehta

IAS (Retd.)

Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Rajasthan

42.    

Shivshankar Menon

IFS (Retd.)

Former Foreign Secretary and Former National Security Adviser

43.    

Sunil Mitra

IAS (Retd.)

Former Secretary, Ministry of Finance, GoI

44.    

Deb Mukharji

IFS (Retd.)

Former High Commissioner to Bangladesh and former Ambassador to Nepal

45.    

Pranab S. Mukhopadhyay

IAS (Retd.)

Former Director, Institute of Port Management, GoI

46.    

Nagalswamy

IA&AS (Retd.)

Former Principal Accountant General, Tamil Nadu & Kerala

47.    

Sobha Nambisan

IAS (Retd.)

Former Principal Secretary (Planning), Govt. of Karnataka

48.    

P.G.J. Nampoothiri

IPS (Retd.)

Former Director General of Police, Govt. of Gujarat

49.    

Amitabha Pande

IAS (Retd.)

Former Secretary, Inter-State Council, GoI

50.    

Alok Perti

IAS (Retd.)

Former Secretary, Ministry of Coal, GoI

51.    

R.M. Premkumar

IAS (Retd.)

Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra

52.    

N.K. Raghupathy

IAS (Retd.)

Former Chairman, Staff Selection Commission, GoI

53.    

V.P. Raja

IAS (Retd.)

Former Chairman, Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission

54.    

C. Babu Rajeev

IAS (Retd.)

Former Secretary, GoI

55.    

Satwant Reddy

IAS (Retd.)

Former Secretary, Chemicals and Petrochemicals, GoI

56.    

Julio Ribeiro

IPS (Retd.)

Former Adviser to Governor of Punjab & former Ambassador to Romania

57.    

Deepak Sanan

IAS (Retd.)

Former Principal Adviser (AR) to Chief Minister, Govt. of Himachal Pradesh

58.    

S. Satyabhama

IAS (Retd.)

Former Chairperson, National Seeds Corporation, GoI

59.    

N.C. Saxena

IAS (Retd.)

Former Secretary, Planning Commission, GoI

60.    

Abhijit Sengupta

IAS (Retd.)

Former Secretary, Ministry of Culture, GoI

61.    

Ashok Kumar Sharma

IFS (Retd.)

Former Ambassador to Finland and Estonia

62.    

Pravesh Sharma

IAS (Retd.)

Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh

63.    

Raju Sharma

IAS (Retd.)

Former Member, Board of Revenue, Govt. of Uttar Pradesh

64.    

Rashmi Shukla Sharma

IAS (Retd.)

Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh

65.    

Sujatha Singh

IFS (Retd.)

Former Foreign Secretary, GoI

66.    

Jawhar Sircar

 

IAS (Retd.)

 

Former Secretary, Ministry of Culture, GoI, & former CEO, Prasar Bharati

67.    

Narendra Sisodia

IAS (Retd.)

Former Secretary, Ministry of Finance, GoI

68.    

Sanjivi Sundar

IAS (Retd.)

Former Secretary, Ministry of Surface Transport, GoI

69.    

P.S.S. Thomas

IAS (Retd.)

Former Secretary General, National Human Rights Commission

70.    

Hindal Tyabji

IAS (Retd.)

Former Chief Secretary rank, Govt. of Jammu & Kashmir

71.    

Ramani Venkatesan

 

IAS (Retd.)

Former Director General, YASHADA, Govt. of Maharashtra


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