Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Gujarat officialdom abuzz with a new fight, between a rugged non-IAS babu and a sophisticated IAS bureacurat

Atanu Chakraborty, IAS
By Our Representative
Senior babus in the nerve centre of Gujarat’s powerdom, Gandhinagar, are animatedly discussing a pitched battle being fought between a  rugged ex-non-IAS official of the state government, who had been close to a top Modi aide currently in the chief minister’s office (CMO), and one of the most sophisticated Gujarat cadre IAS bureaucrats, heading a well-known bluechip state public sector undertaking (PSU).
“Compulsorily" retired from the PSU Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) on the basis of a disputed birth date, AK Vijay Kumar, the non-IAS babu, who last served on a senior position in the PSU, has approached the Gujarat High Court for quashing an FIR filed against him by the IAS-controlled PSU management for alleged irregularities worth Rs 5.33 lakh at the GSPC's Delhi office, where used to serve.
Vijay Kumar is well known in the Gujarat Sachivalaya for his excellent networking skills and connections with top officials and politicians, both in Delhi and Gandhinagar. He used to frequently meet Narendra Modi during the latter’s chief ministership (2001-14), the period when he developed excellent rapport with the Modi aide, who currently happens to be the Prime Minister’s Man Friday in Gandhinagar.
Vijay Kumar has been joined by another former employee of the GSPC, Bhawna Kumar, in the petition in the High Court. The FIR mentions this employee’s name, alongside that of Vijay Kumar, as accused for alleged financial irregularities in the Delhi office.
Non-IAS AK Vijay Kumar
In the petition, a rough and tough Vijay Kumar  has the accused GSPC managing director Atanu Chakraborty, IAS – industry-friendly and urbane  – for bearing “malice” against him, adding, the FIR has been filed in order to “harass” him.
The petitioners have argued that the FIR filed against them in Gandhinagar police is “not tenable” because only the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) of Gujarat police can probe corruption related cases in the state. 
The petition says, “The complainant had directly approached the local district police in furtherance of mala fide intentions to harass the petitioners by implicating them in a criminal offence."
The FIR has been filed by Surendra Sanehi, senior manager (administration), who happens to be son of a retired IAS bureaucrat. It alleges that the accused have committed “financial irregularities” by forging invoices and producing fake vouchers for various expenses incurred, when they were in charge of the finance and corporate affairs of the company.
After the FIR was lodged with Gandhinagar police, the case has been transferred to the CID (crime) for probe. It is not known whether any departmental inquiry was ordered against Vijay Kumar, or if the Gujarat Vigilance Commission, looking into corruption charges against state officials, was approached ahead of the FIR.
"The accused has also claimed reimbursement of Rs 54,749 for liquor consumption, which is not allowed as per the company's policy," states in the FIR, adding, "Food bills worth Rs 1.94 lakh were submitted. Those bills were from India International Centre (IIC) where Vijay Kumar's wife is a member, so all the bills in her name were reimbursed from GSPL's accounts."
The petition was filed last month but so far the court has not granted any relief sought by the petitioners.

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