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Amid IAS Officer Narain’s Suspension, Maximum Strict Action Against Gazetted Officers in 2021: MHA

The year 2021 saw maximum strictest actions taken by the home ministry against gazetted officers (GOs) since the Narendra Modi government came to power.

During Amit Shah’s tenure as home minister since 2019, delinquent officers faced maximum punishments over minor action in 2021, the home ministry’s annual report has revealed.

News18 has analysed the reports since 2014, and found that 10 GOs – the highest so far — faced dismissal, removal and compulsory retirements last year. In 2020 and 2019, two officers each year had to leave their job. But 2018, which saw punishment to most officers, had only five dismissals, removals and compulsory retirements. In 2017, no one was dismissed, or retired compulsory but only one officer was removed from the service. In previous years as well, fewer than four officers were punished.

In fact, on an average, the home ministry has been taking strict action against one gazetted officer every week since 2021, which involves removal, dismissal and compulsory retirement amid senior IAS officer Jitendra Narain suspension over sexual assault charge, the data shows.

According to the MHA’s annual report, there were 237 disciplinary cases filed between April 1 and December 31, 2021, and vigilance cases against 249 gazetted officers. The ministry took action against 52 gazetted officers involved in 48 cases in 2021. Though the number is high in case of non-gazetted officers, with a total of 4,114 of them facing action mostly for recovery from pay in 2021.

Details of vigilance/ disciplinary cases in the home ministry as on 31.12.2021

The central government demoted or gave a pay cut as punishment to nearly 19 officers.

The punishments have been divided into minor and major. The former includes censure, warning while the latter involves dismissal, removal and compulsory retirement.

Importantly, the government gave censure and warning as punishment to only four gazetted officers in 2021. Interestingly, no displeasure and transfer of cases were done in last year.

The government chose to give major punishment such as dismissal from the service and removal to several officers.

A senior IAS Jitendra Narain officer facing gang-rape allegations has been suspended by the ministry of home affairs. According to the MHA, Narain, a senior IAS officer of the Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram-and-Union Territory cadre, has been placed under suspension with immediate effect based on a report submitted by the Andaman and Nicobar police.

The vigilance set up in the Ministry of Home Affairs (Proper) is headed by a Joint Secretary level officer, who acts as part-time Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) of the Ministry.

“The Chief Vigilance Officer in Ministry (proper) is assisted by a Director/Deputy Secretary, an Under Secretary and Vigilance Cell comprising two Section Officers and supporting officers. There are separate Vigilance Divisions in each organisation under the administrative control of MHA. The Vigilance Cell is primarily responsible for disciplinary/vigilance activities of the MHA including the matters related to maintenance of Annual Property Returns, Annual Performance Appraisal Reports, etc. of officials posted in the Ministry,” the annual report says.

The ministry says it also coordinates the vigilance activities, including the ‘probity’ related issues, with all the attached and subordinate organisations to maintain discipline, efficiency, and integrity within the ministry.

“Constant synergy is maintained with the Heads of the Divisions to ensure that a close watch is kept on the activities of the officials working in such divisions. The officials posted in the “sensitive” positions are rotated on regular basis. Similar exercises are done by the organisations under the Ministry,” the MHA said.

For the officers and members of staff handling sensitive works, “positive vetting” is done through the Intelligence Agencies. Lists of “officers whose integrity is doubtful” and ‘Agreed List’ are maintained. They are reviewed periodically in consultation with the concerned organisations and the Central Bureau of Investigation. “The ‘probity’ related issues are monitored through regular meetings with the Vigilance functionaries of the attached and subordinate offices/ organisations under the Ministry.”

It further said the vigilance and disciplinary cases in the ministry arising out of complaints, reports, internal investigations, which are given due priority. The cases against the delinquent officials are sent to the cadre authorities for further actions under the relevant service rules.

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