VIJAYAWADA: A day after news emerged that Chief Secretary LV Subramanyam served a show-cause notice on Principal Secretary (Political, General Administration Department) Praveen Prakash, the contents of the strongly-worded memo surfaced on Sunday. Noting that the Principal Secretary exhibited ‘grave misconduct’ and ‘misbehaviour’ and resorted to ‘willful insubordination or disobedience’, the Chief Secretary directed the former to submit an explanation for ‘violation of business rules and conduct rules’ within a week.
In the memo dated November 1, it was mentioned that Praveen Prakash sent a file related to the YSR Lifetime Achievement Awards to the Chief Secretary for placing the proposal before the Council of Ministers. It added that the CS returned the file advising Praveen Prakash to obtain finance department’s concurrence as per business rules and recirculate the file. “In violation of business rules and orders of the CS, the member of service (MoS) has placed the proposal without obtaining approval from the CS and the Chief Minister,” the memo read.
Citing another case, the memo noted that Praveen Prakash failed to place a proposal circulated by the law department regarding Gram Nyayalayas before the Council of Ministers despite Law Secretary’s request, which was made keeping in view the High Court’s direction on the matter. “The MoS is not the competent authority to keep the proposal with him without placing it before the Council of Ministers despite approval from the CM. If any oral instructions were received from the Chief Minister’s Office, he should have brought them to the notice of the CS, who is the Secretary of the Council of Ministers. But, it was not done,” the memo observed.
In accordance with rule 13 (4) of AP Business Rules, all cases where a matter is to be brought up at the meeting of the Council of Ministers or a decision is to be taken through circulation to all the ministers, the Secretary of the department concerned shall prepare a memorandum and submit to ministers concerned for approval through the Chief Secretary, Subramanyam pointed out citing the rule position.
“But, in gross violation of these rules, Praveen Prakash has exhibited grave misconduct and misbehaviour as indicated above. It is clearly established that the MoS has failed to observe the business rules and also there is willful insubordination or disobedience of the orders of superior authority. It comes under misconduct and action in a manner unbecoming of a senior officer, thereby violating All India Services (Conduct) Rules, 1968,” the CS said.
In this context, the CS directed the Principal Secretary to submit an explanation for violation of rules within one week of receipt of the memo. The Principal Secretary received the letter on November 1. Sources said that Praveen Prakash may send his reply in a couple of days, and is likely to defend his actions stating that they are well within his authority. Efforts to reach him for a comment were in vain.
For the record, the GO issued by Praveen Prakash on October 25 directing all the special chief secretaries, principal secretaries and secretaries to adhere to a time frame in issuing GOs for the instructions issued by the Chief Minister/CMO.
The GAD Principal Secretary amended the Andhra Pradesh Business Rules for action to be taken in non-compliance of time frame. The action includes the possibility of the Chief Minister ordering issuance of a show-cause notice to the secretaries concerned. This has caused a furore in the power corridors and bureaucratic circles.
While it was initially speculated that the CS issued the memo for purportedly amending the business rules without prior authorisation, it has emerged that Praveen Prakash ‘violated’ certain business rules pertaining to circulation of files.