[Did not put up files to Kaptan Singh Solanki for clearance; stripped senior IAS officers of important departments at will]
A series of posting and transfer orders passed by the outgoing UT Adviser Vijay Dev have come under the governmentÔÇÖs scanner after investigations have revealed that he passed the posting orders without getting proper approval from the competent authority, the UT Administrator and Punjab Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki.
Dev, who was unceremoniously removed from the AdviserÔÇÖs post by the Union Home Ministry last Wednesday, carried out frequent postings of senior IAS, PCS and HCS officers, including stripping the UT Finance Secretary Sarvjit Singh as well as Deputy Commissioner and Haryana-cadre IAS officer Ajit Balaji Joshi of some important departments, during his 15-month tenure as the UT Adviser. Sources claim that even after being pointed out, the Adviser continued to be ÔÇÿdefiantÔÇÖ and carried out the transfers and postings without putting up the file before the Punjab Governor-cum-UT Administrator Solanki.
ÔÇ£It is a clear violation of norms and procedures if Dev passed these orders. He had no authority to do so,ÔÇØ said former Chief Secretary Subodh Agarwal, who also served as the Principal Secretary to the Governor, Punjab.
Investigations by Daily World reveal that the Adviser continued to pass the posting orders as ÔÇÿUT AdministratorÔÇÖ, despite objections raised at the highest level. ÔÇ£In the past 10 years of the stint of Governors and UT Administrators like the late Lt Gen. JFR Jacob (retd), Gen. SF Rodrigues (retd), OP Verma and Shivraj Patil, all transfers and posting orders of Class-I and above officers have been carried out on the orders of the Administrator, who is the competent authority,ÔÇØ a top functionary confirmed. ÔÇ£All such orders issued by the Adviser are in violation of norms and also, all actions subsequent to these postings are null and void,ÔÇØ he added.
Dev, who joined the Chandigarh Administration as UT Adviser when Shivraj Patil was the Administrator and Punjab Governor, reportedly stopped sending the files to the new incumbent Solanki for approval.
Copies of the orders with Daily World show that the Adviser issued around 28 orders involving the posting of IAS, PCS and HCS officers, and even took away important departments from Punjab and Haryana cadre officers, including the important Excise and Taxation department from the Deputy Commissioner Joshi. He distributed some of the main departments among the UT cadre IAS officers, such as Kashish Mittal, Danish Ashraf and Prince Dhawan. The three officers were also transferred by the Union Home Ministry last week. A recent order issued by the Adviser posting a 2014-cadre IAS probationer, Bhupesh Chaudhary as Director (Sports) and SDM (East) has also become an issue of discussion in the UT Administration.
At present, the Union Territory of Chandigarh has 18 IAS officers, including 11 of AGMU cadre and seven from Punjab and Haryana. The posting orders which were issued by the Adviser till he was transferred had caused widespread resentment among the Punjab and Haryana cadre officers who had approached their respective governments for taking up the matter with the Home Ministry.
Dev had invited the ire of the Prime MinisterÔÇÖs Office for the UT AdministrationÔÇÖs decision to close all schools and the cremation ground during Narendra ModiÔÇÖs visit to Chandigarh on September 11. The Adviser was recently censured by the Home Ministry for what it described as a ÔÇ£clear case of overreachÔÇØ.
(The orders passed without authority amount to wrong exercise of powers. The action may be illegal but not void ab initio. Harbhagwan Singh, Former Advocate General, Punjab
The posting orders issued by the Adviser are without jurisdiction and the Administrator must review all such orders and take immediate corrective measures.ÔÇØ HC Arora, Advocate, Punjab and Haryana High Court
It is a clear violation of norms and procedures if Dev passed the orders without the UT AdministratorÔÇÖs approval. He had no authority to do so.ÔÇØ Subodh Agarwal, Former Chief Secretary and Principal Secretary to the Governor, Punjab)