A civil servant in Bihar was suspended for issuing a travel pass to a BJP MLA who recently travelled to Kota to bring back his daughter, triggering a major controversy. According to a notification issued by the states-general administration department late Tuesday, Anu Kumar, the Sub Divisional Officer, Sadar, Nawada district was suspended with immediate effect for issuing the pass in favour of Anil Singh who represents the Hisua assembly segment.
The notification said Kumar has been found guilty of negligence in issuing the pass facilitating inter-state travel, which must not have been issued except in extraordinary circumstances during the lockdown period.
Further disciplinary action has been recommended against the SDO who shall be attached to the office of the Divisional Commissioner, Magadh Division, during the period of his suspension, the notification added.
Singh had obtained the pass on April 15 and left for the Rajasthan town a day later from where he brought back his 17-year-old daughter, a medical aspirant who the legislator claimed had sunk into depression after she was left alone with her coaching classes suspended and most of her hostel mates having left for their homes.
Opposition parties in Bihar had taken a strong exception to the development in the light of Chief Minister Nitish Kumars disapproval of various state governments arranging transport to bring back students stranded in Kota a COVID-19 hotspot that attracts medical and engineering aspirants from across the country.
The opposition had accused the government of extending the facility to a VIP belonging to the ruling coalition while speaking of commitment to the nationwide lockdown.
Singh also happens to be the chief whip, in the state assembly, of the BJP and he has been provided with a government-owned vehicle in that capacity. The driver of the Scorpio car was also slapped with a show-cause notice on Monday for taking the vehicle out of the state without due approval of the secretariat.
However, Singh claimed that he did not use the government-owned SUV but his private Fortuner car for the journey, though he had obtained passes for both vehicles "by way of abundant caution".