Claiming that the Centre was wreaking vengeance on the Bengal government, the Trinamool on Tuesday claimed that the show-cause notice sent to the state's just-retired chief secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay was an "illegal" move on the part of the centre.
Trinamool Rajya Sabha MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy contended that the notice, invoking section 51 (b) of the Disaster Management Act, was "void", and said that the question of violation of any provision does not arise.
"Show Cause Notice served upon former Chief Secretary of Bengal is void ab initio in as much as no direction was issued to him under Sec 51(a) or(b) of the Disaster Mangement Act . As such the question of violation thereof does not arise. Stop such blatant act of vengeance," he tweeted.
Show Cause Notice served upon former Chief Secretary of Bengal is void ab initio inasmuch as no direction was issued to him under Sec.51(a) or(b) of the Disaster Mangement Act . As such the question of violation thereof does not arise. Stop such blatant act of vengeance.— Sukhendu Sekhar Ray (@Sukhendusekhar) June 1, 2021
The Union Home Ministry has served a show-cause notice to Mr Bandyopadhyay under a stringent provision of the Disaster Management Act that entails imprisonment up to two years, amid a tug-of-war between the centre and the Mamata Banerjee government over him.
A home ministry official said that hours before Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced his retirement on Monday, Mr Bandyopadhyay was served the notice for refusing to comply with lawful direction of the centre in violation of Section 51-B of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
Mr Roy, while talking to reporters here during the day, further said, "The notice is illegal. The DM Act cannot be invoked against the chief secretary in this way."
Opposition leader in the Bengal assembly, BJP's Suvendu Adhikari, however, sought strictest action against Mr Bandopadhyay for indiscipline and violation of service rules.
"I demand strictest action be taken against the outgoing CS for indiscipline, violating service rules at a time of a natural disaster and a global pandemic, irregularities, and not helping others just because of sinister political games. TMC has failed the people of West Bengal," the BJP leader tweeted.
I demand strictest action be taken against the outgoing CS for indiscipline, violating service rules at a time of a natural disaster and a global pandemic, irregularities, and not helping others just because of sinister political games. TMC has failed the people of West Bengal.— Suvendu Adhikari • শুভেন্দু অধিকারী (@SuvenduWB) June 1, 2021
He alleged that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has brought disrepute to her office by appointing Mr Bandopadhyay as her chief adviser.
"For the sake of her own ego, to destroy Indias federal structure and protect the Chief Secretary for his indiscipline, (non-MLA) CM @MamataOfficial Didi is bringing disrepute to the CM office and the Constitution of India."
"Looting tax payer money is TMCs favourite hobby."
Outgoing CS and now 'advisor' to (non-MLA) CM @MamataOfficial will enjoy a comfortable salary of Rs. 2.5 lakhs per month and cushy perks. Surely, there are better ways to spend the hard- earned money of the taxpayers," Mr Adhikari, who defeated Banerjee in the recently held assembly polls, wrote.
According to Section 51 (b), whosoever refuses to comply with any direction given by or on behalf of the central government or the state government or the National Executive Committee or the State Executive Committee or the District Authority under this Act, shall on conviction be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine, or with both.
"And if such obstruction or refusal to comply with directions results in loss of lives or imminent danger thereof, shall on conviction be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years...," the Act says.