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Home > News > Report

Row in Orissa over IAS officer's suspension

Giridhar Gopal in Bhubaneswar | April 06, 2003 05:19 IST

A controversy has erupted in Orissa over the suspension of an Indian Administrative Service officeron a charge of misbehaving with a state minister anda legislator.

Thegovernment last week suspended Hrushikesh Panda,chairman and managing director of the Industrial Development Corporation Limited, afterScheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Welfare Minister Balabhadra Majhi andlegislator Saharai Oram complainedthat he had'misbehaved' with them at aguesthouse of the corporationat Barbil in Keonjhar district on March 15.

The assembly held a marathon discussion on the matter, wheremembers from all political parties demanded immediate action. Accordingly,Speaker Sarat Kumar Kar put to voice vote a motion ordering Panda's suspension, whichwas passed. The government then placed Panda under suspension. The assemblyalso constituted a five-member committeeto probethe incident.

Defending his decision, Kar latersaid, "The House wanted his suspension, therefore the direction was given."

Butsome constitutional expertsdescribed the suspension orderas unconstitutional."The assembly cannot make such a direction," former Lok Sabha speaker Rabi Roy told "This is an example of direct interference in the work of the executive."

Majhi and Oram saidofficials at the Barbil guesthouseallotted them a non-VIP room because Panda had already booked the VIP suite. Later, they claimed, Panda cameand abused them and the guesthouse stafffor parkingtheir vehiclein the portico. According to them, he also ordered that power and water supply to the guesthouse be cut.

Pandahas denied the allegation. "I have never met the minister and legislator, therefore [the question of] misbehaving with them does not arise," theofficer told

Interestingly, the managing director of IDCOL's Kalinga Iron Works, P C Mahanta, under whomthe guesthouse operates, has submitted a report to theindustry minister about Oram and Majhi's stay which does not mention the alleged incident with Panda.

Majhi and Oram's stay at the guesthouse was comfortable, Mahanta reported, pointing out that the minister himself had made this commentin the VIP guest register. 'Accommodation is very comfortable and services are very good. All the best wishes,' Majhireportedly wrote.

Panda, 48, a topper of the civil services examination of 1979, is known to be a sticker for rules. He has already been transferred 25 times during17 years of servicein Orissa. He wassecretary in theurban development department for eight months before being transferred toIDCOLafter he tookdrastic measures against illegal constructions.

The legislator and minister visited the guesthouse on March 15. Butthey complained aboutthe alleged misbehaviour only on March 30. "Why did they take 15 days?" Mayadhar Naik, chief of Orissa Gana Abhiyan, a non-governmental organisation, wanted to know.

Gangadhar Panigrahi, chief adviser of the state industrial workers association,pointed out that legislators had made allegations against Panda and directedhis suspension. And now a team of legislators was probing the matter. "How can the probe be impartial?" he wondered.

Panigrahi also asked why the minister and legislator stayed at the Barbil guesthouse, 34km away, when government-run guesthouses were located close to the venue of the public meeting they were to attend.

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Number of User Comments: 5


It has been a trend in the orissa government,that if the politicians are not satisfied with the way of working of the civil servents they ...

Posted by shakti prasad tripathy

Sub: Pity on Orissa

This a pity that every time Orissa is in news, it is for the wrong reasons. This saga of an upright IAS officer is no ...

Posted by Banita

Sub: Extremely dangerous

The suspension of this officer by a ruling by Speaker indicates a dangerous trend in our polity. If a naxalite commits violence, it is said ...

Posted by venugopal

Sub: Nothing new. Good people always get punishement

Good peoples alway get punished.But that do not deter them from continuing their goal. I remember Mr. Panda had arrested about 11 foregin nationals for ...

Posted by Raghu_bansi

Sub: this is democracy

This the real meaning of democracy as defined by the Greeks: "Rule by Mobs". Surely we are the largest democracy.

Posted by kalpak dabir



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