Replacing top civic official by govt invalid: Kiran Bedi

Puducherry: Lt Governor Kiran Bedi today termed as “invalid” the Puducherry government’s decision to replace a top civic official, saying it was taken without the competent authority’s approval.

Bedi made the remark a day after the ruling Congress and the opposition demanded her recall.

The MLAs had demanded Bedi’s recall for “disrespecting the government and the MLAs besides delaying the developmental works”.

Puducherry Municipality Commissioner R Chandrasekaran was replaced yesterday in compliance with Speaker V Vaithilingam’s ruling.

Bedi, who is out of station, said the order has been issued without due approval by the competent authority as mandated under the rules.

Earlier in a communication to her secretary, she had said “The Lt Governor is the competent authority on matters relating to the services of government officers.”

The official sources said Bedi had also wanted the chief secretary to discuss the matter with her on Monday.

She is expected to return to Puducherry either tonight or tomorrow.

Chief Secretary Manoj Parida had replaced Chandrasekaran yesterday while assigning his role to Director of Art and Culture S Ganesan.

He had also said Chandrasekaran should report to him for further posting.

The MLAs had yesterday sought action against Chandrasekar, alleging that he was acting on Bedi’s “directives” to “disrespect” them and the government.

They said he had recently held a meeting with members of self-help groups in Mudaliarpet without informing AIADMK’s A Baskar, the local MLA.

The members said he had also lodged a police complaint against Baskar after he raised questions about the meeting.

The MLA has approached the Privileges Committee seeking action against Chandrasekar for holding the meeting without informing him.

The Speaker had then directed the government to replace the Commissioner and keep him under compulsory wait till the privilege issue was disposed off.

Ganesan told PTI that he assumed office last night.

Bedi, who assumed office in May last year, has since then been at loggerheads with the respective governments, irked by “lack of cooperation” to her Clean Puducherry mission.

She had even threatened she would quit her post and leave the Union Territory if there was no improvement in the situation.

Bedi has been making week-end visits as part of the Swachh Puducherry Mission after she assumed office.