West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has said that the state government cannot release Chief Secretary "at this critical hour". In a letter written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, Banerjee has requested him to withdraw the order recalling Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay.
"West Bengal government can't release and is not releasing its Chief Secretary at this critical hours," she wrote in a five-page letter.
Banerjee said she was shocked by the Centre's decision and termed the order as "unilateral", which was issued "without any prior consultation" with the state government.
"This so-called unilateral order is an unreasoned volte face and by your own admission, against the interests of the state and its people. I humbly request you to withdraw, recall, reconsider your decision and rescind the latest so-called order in larger public interest. I appeal to your conscience and good sense, on the behalf of the people of West Bengal," Banerjee said in her letter to PM Modi.
"The West Bengal government cannot release, and is not releasing its chief secretary at this critical hour, on the basis of our understanding that the earlier order of extension, issued after lawful consultation in accordance with applicable laws, remains operational and valid," she also said.
The Centre had last week transferred Alapan Bandyopadhyay after he skipped Prime Minister Narendra Modi's crucial meeting on Cyclone Yaas. The Centre had on Friday night sought Bandyopadhyay's services and asked the state government to immediately release the top bureaucrat, an order that snowballed into a major controversy. In a communique to the state government, the Personnel Ministry said the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the placement of the services of Bandyopadhyay with Government of India as per provisions of the Indian Administrative Service (cadre) Rules, 1954, "with immediate effect". It also directed Bandyopadhyay to report to the Department of Personnel and Training, North Block, New Delhi by 10 am on Monday.
Alapan Bandyopadhyay, a 1987-batch IAS officer of the West Bengal cadre, was scheduled to retire on May 31 after completion of 60 years of age. However, he was granted a three-month extension following a nod from the Centre to work on Covid management.