Ranchi: Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) of Jharkhand Bhawan at Delhi, Bijay Kumar Verma, is in serious trouble this time.
Taking stern note of his misconduct with Poreyahat legislator Pradeep Yadav, the Privilege Committee of the Jharkhand Assembly has recommended for his removal within a month from his assignment there.
An assistant engineer of the Water Resources Department, Verma is posted with Jharkhand Bhawan ever since it came into being in 2000. He managed to stay on the post even though the then Resident Commissioner of Jharkhand in New Delhi, Smita Chugh in 2002 had recommended for his removal.
Supposed to be a 'master manager' of crisis—both personal and official—Verma had a short break in his office some years ago but he managed to get the officer posted in his post removed.
However, the Privilege Committee is unlikely to lay things down this time, as Speaker Alamgir Alam had forwarded a strong recommendation, unanimously approved by the House also, to the state government to relieve Verma of his assignment.
"The Speaker will review the progress made by the state government when the deadline for taking action expires next fortnight," sources close to the Speaker told iGovernment.
It may be noted that Yadav in a petition to the Speaker had alleged that Verma had misbehaved with him when he wanted to know from him which room was allotted to him in the Jharkhand Bhawan during his visit there on January 7 this year.
He said a request for allotment of one room in the Bhawan for a day was sent there on January 7 through Cabinet Secretariat and Coordination Department, in advance on January 3.
Despite that Verma did not allot the room and told him that he would have to proceed to Rajsthan Bhawan where a room has been arranged for him. It was 10.30 p.m. on January 7.
"Verma even did not entertain his request for arranging a vehicle, fare of which was to be borne by Yadav, to move to Rajsthan Bhawan. Ultimately, a room was allotted to Yadav at 1.30 p.m. when he threatened a sit in 'dharna' there.
Taking it as a breach of privilege of an MLA, the Assembly Speaker had constituted the committee consisting of Girinath Singh, Pradeep Balmuchu, Karia Munda and Ravindra Nath Mahto.
The Speaker on the testimony of Yadav and Verma before it held the CAO guilty of misdemeanour and unruly behaviour towards the MLA and recommended to the government to ensure removal of Verma from the Jharkhand Bhawan and posting a competent officer in his place.
Assembly secretariat forwarded the copy of the House-approved recommendations 15 days ago to the government and the Resident Commissioner of Jharkhand Bhawan Rajiv Gauba for action against the erring officer within one month. However, the government was yet to act on the issue.
When contacted, Verma admitted that he got the requisition letter for booking the room but in view of the Chief Minister's visit on January 8, he had to make alternative arrangement for Yadav at Rajasthan Bhawan.
"The rented Jharkhand Bhawan had only six rooms and since the Chief Minister was scheduled to visit Delhi the next day, I had no option but to keep on hold four rooms for his team. However, I did make alternate arrangement for the MLA and if the Committee still feels that I am guilty, I do not have anything to say," he stated.
Verma also said that despite being informed of his ill health, the MLA woke him up at 10:30 p.m and abused him of dereliction of duty. He also stated that Yadav was finally allotted a room in the Jharkhand Bhawan by shifting a officer from one of the rooms.
PK Jajoria, Secretary of the State Cabinet Coordination Department, however, did not specify what kind of progress could be made in reference to the Privilege Committee recommendations. Moreover, he said that the Assembly committee recommendations are not binding on the government.
However, State Congress Chief Pradeep Kumar Balumuchu, who is also in the committee, said that all officials responsible in defending Verma might also have to face the wrath.