CHANDIGARH: As controversy pertaining to the Haryana Chief Minister administering the oath of office to new information commissioners persisted, senior IAS officer Pradeep Kasni today alleged the Chief Secretary had sent him objectionable text messages relating to the appointments.
Haryana Administrative Reforms Secretary Kasni, who had raised concerns regarding the appointments, has charged Chief Secretary S C Choudhry with sending him objectionable SMSs on Sunday night over a file pertaining to the appointments.
The Chief Secretary, however, termed these as exchanges between "friends" and expressed regret to the officer if these had hurt his sentiments.
"The SMSs are objectionable, written in bad language and in bad taste... All these messages are in bad language and not ones which carry encouraging tone," Kasni told reporters here.
Choudhry, who retires two days later, said: "I am pained to hear this kind of reaction from him. We are like brothers and know each other well as we belong to the same district. All the messages sent by me were intended to be jokes, which friends usually exchange among themselves.
"However, I have offered my regret to him today, saying there was no intention to cause any hurt."
Choudhry has been named as Chairman of the Right to Service Commission.
When contacted, Kasni said for him text messages were not the main issue. "We have not exchanged any message as friends in the past."
"I am not going to file any police complaint against the Chief Secretary. He is my boss and I have always had high regards for him," Kasni said.
A row had erupted over Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda administering the oath of office to new information commissioners with the Opposition describing the move as "unconstitutional".
The Opposition claimed Hooda had administered the oath barely an hour after the new Governor had taken charge on Sunday.
It also alleged the rules and procedures in making the appointments were not followed.
Kasni said for him the larger issue was that officers should not get lured by some post-retirement benefits as it threatens to endanger the whole administrative system. "About the appointments, I had raised some points that included Search Committee not doing its job. There is pressure on officers to do wrong things. But, it is our duty to stand up and do the right thing. I am just a small fry, but it is my duty to point out if things are wrong," he said.
On concerns raised by Kasni on the appointments, the Chief Secretary had earlier said all members had fulfilled the requisite qualifications and there was not a single member who was holding any post of profit during the appointment. In his message to Kasni offering regret, the Chief Secretary said "Dear Pradeep, you know that I treat you like my younger brother. It (referring to the SMSs) was said in lighter vein, but it seems part of my message has hurt your feelings. If that is the case, I regret those words which have hurt your sentiments. We are and will remain friends."