In a shocking incident that has come to light from Karnataka, an IAS officer was humiliated and insulted by some ministers for not bending the rules. The ministers felt that the officer did not understand political compulsions and only wanted to act by the book. The officer was put under so much pressure that he preferred taking a leave of absence than relenting to the unjust demands. Notably, all this allegedly occurred in the presence of the Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah.
The secretary for mines, Rajender Kumar Kataria, was not ready to compromise on his principles by bending the law. The heart of the matter was a mining lease granted to M/s Muddakkanahalli Stone Cutters Co-operative Society Ltd. The lease was renewed by the Siddaramaiah government for 20 years, effective from its expiry in 1999. The lease was to be registered within 90 days of the directive. However, the company failed to do so.
The IAS officer Rajender Kumar Kataria noted that the lease had lapsed and as per the Supreme Court guidelines and the Karnataka Minor Mineral Concession (Amendment) Rules-2017, it could not be renewed. As per the law, it was mandatory to auction the mining license. The Siddaramaiah government wanted to give the license to the aforementioned company possibly because it had members of the Bhovi community.
The Karnataka chief minister and his ministers insisted that the IAS officer bend the rules and allow renewal of the mining license. This again was being done to please a specific community as elections are just around the corner. The ministers misbehaved with the IAS officer, forcing him to go on leave. The finance department had also supported the views of IAS officer Kataria.
While this may appear like a minor incident, IAS officers in Karnataka admit that they are being used to suit the political strategies of the ministers. The Siddaramaiah government was so eager to prove work on the ground that over 300 cabinet decisions have been approved in the last one month. Another IAS officer told the Times of India, “There seems to be a major rush to approve files in the run-up to the assembly polls and officers are under tremendous pressure.”
The autocratic working style of the present government has been evident from similar cases that have emerged in the past few years. On May 2017, a young 31-years-old IAS officer Anurag Tewari was found dead in a guest house under mysterious circumstances. His father recently alleged that he was being pressured into clearing files which were against his ethics. In another example of ministers pressurizing IAS & IPS officers, a cabinet minister in Siddaramaiah’s government, K J George, has an FIR filed against him in the Deputy SP Ganapathy’s suicide case.
IAS and IPS officers being transferred is something that most Indians have learned to live with, but being humiliated by ministers for not going against the Supreme Court order is utterly shocking. With the assembly polls fast approaching in Karnataka, one can only imagine the horrors that might be inflicted on the bureaucracy if this government were to return to power. Seems honest cops and upright officers only win in movies, in real life they get humiliated like this.
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