Drama over joint secy’s transfer

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Drama over joint secy’s transfer

Jul 7, 2014-

The government on Monday put on hold its earlier decision to transfer a “controversial” joint-secretary, Bharat Subedi, to the Finance Ministry. A Cabinet meeting on Friday evening had decided to transfer Subedi from the Ministry of General Administration.

According to sources, Acting Prime Minister Bam Dev Gautam on Monday called Prime Minister’s Office Secretary Krishna Hari Banskota and instructed him not to issue transfer letter to Subedi for the time being. The PMO was set to dispatch the transfer letter to Subedi on Monday.

During Friday’s Cabinet meeting, Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat had urged Gautam to approve Subedi's transfer. Mahat had reportedly threatened to block other issues if the transfer did not happen. According to a highly placed source, the Cabinet decided to transfer Subedi at the direct proposal of DPM Gautam and request from Finance Minister Mahat.

According to a UML minister, Mahat strongly pushed for Subedi’s transfer in the Cabinet saying that it had been a prestige issue for him. “After intense pressure from Mahat, Gautam agreed to Subedi’s transfer,” said another minister.

Mahat is keen to bring Subedi to the Finance Ministry despite the latter’s bad track record. His transfer was raised in an earlier meeting too but strong opposition from Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and Minister of General Administration Lal Babu Pandit had held it.

Asked how Subedi had got a posting at the Finance Ministry, Pandit said, “Why don’t you ask DPM Gautam? I don’t know anything and neither do I hold any responsibility of his transfer. The proposal was not tabled by my ministry.”

Minister Pandit has been strongly opposing the Finance Ministry’s proposal to transfer Subedi saying that he has got the permanent residency permit in Australia and was caught in disputes while serving as an under-secretary at the Finance Ministry earlier.

Sources say that Pandit, who has been strongly resisting Subedi’s transfer for five months, raised the issue with senior party leaders during the ongoing General Convention of the CPN-UML. Following instruction from the senior party leadership, DPM Gautam has reconsidered his decision and urged the PMO Secretary not to release the transfer letter at least for now. The trade union close to UML had also warned of protests against his transfer. On Friday, Pandit left the Cabinet meeting warning DPM Gautam that he would not issue a letter to release Subedi from his ministry.

Subedi was one of the officials whose house was raided by the CIAA on August 16, 2002 in connection with amassing of property illegally. The anti-graft body had raided the homes of 22 officials from the Revenue Service.

Subedi, however, had managed to reach New Delhi during the raid. After the Special Court gave him a clean chit, he was reinstated at the Finance Ministry. In the business circle, Subedi is known for his high-handedness and intimidating businessmen for his interests.

Earlier, the Cabinet made a similar decision under pressure from Gautam while transferring Dhan Prasad Gyawali, joint-secretary from the Law Service, to the Home Ministry. Gyawali too holds a foreign PR.

Mahat could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.

Published: 08-07-2014 09:06

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