Ex-govt counsel urges CS to expunge derogatory remarks

  • | Tuesday | 26th September, 2023

Bhopal: In a letter to the state chief secretary, former standing counsel of the state government at National Green Tribunal (NGT), Sachin Verma, has requested him to pass necessary instructions to expunge the incorrect and defamatory remarks pertaining to him in the affidavit presented before NGT, central bench, on September 14.In the said affidavit, it was stated on behalf the high-level committee constituted by the chief secretary comprising principal secretaries of forest & environment, water resources and urban administration, PCCF and member secretary, MPPCB, that there was dereliction of duty on the part of Verma and some other officials who did not communicate about tribunals order on CS.In the order of this tribunal on August 18, 2023, it was said,We allow one months time subject to the payment of cost of Rs 5 lakh. We are of the view that the chief secretary may decide the department/agency responsible for the non-filing of the desired affidavit and have Rs 5 lakh deposited within 1 week with the MPPCB.The committee further said, In compliance to above stated directions an inquiry was conducted. In the inquiry it was found that the state counsel didnt communicate to any of the officers of the government that the tribunal passed the order on July 27, 2023, mandating the chief secretary to be present on August 18, 2023. The counsel of MPPCB informed the OIC regarding the order but the OIC in turn didnt inform his higher officials. Similarly, no information was given by the OIC of BMC to any senior officer of the state government about the order.The affidavit further said that following dereliction of duty the state counsel has already resigned and show cause notices have been issued to chief town planner, BMC, Neeraj Anand Likhakar, and regional officer, MPPCB based at Bhopal Brijesh Sharma, who are OIC in the case from the BMC and MPPCB respectively.The committee said that in the wake of the above circumstances desired reply/action taken report couldnt be filed and the chief secretary had to ask for time to file the same.Clarifying his position in the letter Verma said that he by his own efforts had obtained the copy of original application and as an "abundant precaution" even before the service of notice sent to an official email to the office of the chief secretary on February 15, 2022, with a copy of the order passed by the tribunal requesting the office of chief secretary to appoint a suitable OIC in the matter.He further said that he has been working as standing counsel for the state government before the NGT for quite sometime and from 2013 to February, 2022, he used to get immediate response from office of chief secretary whenever he sent an official communication by subordinate staff but after June, 2021, he sent numerous communications to the office of chief secretary but received response to none.He said after he sent the information on February 15, 2022, as usual the CS office didnt respond and rather passed directions to Neeraj Anand Likhar and to be OIC from BMC in the matter as per the letter issued by assistant commissioner, BMC, on May 25, 2022.He said on July 27, 2023, the case was listed before the tribunal and on that day, D K Singh, assistant engineer (building permission), BMC, who is a subordinate officer of Likhar had a chat with him over WhatsApp. Giving details of the WhatsApp chat, he said "It is evident that he had informed Singh about the order of the chief secretary and also asked him to inform the office of chief secretary about the same."He also informed law section of BMC about the order.

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