The differences between the former Home Secretary L.C. Goyal, who was asked to resign, and his junior, Anant Kumar Singh, who was also shifted out of the Ministry last month, had reached such a level that Mr. Singh had to issue a circular asking officers “to send files to him and not directly to the Home Secretary”.
On May 6, Mr. Singh, then Additional Secretary and to whom three Joint Secretaries (Police-I, Union Territory and Centre-State) were reporting, issued a circular, which said: “It is being noticed that certain files, which are required to be routed through the Additional Secretary (Centre-State) as per the Channel of Submission order, are not being put up to the undersigned. It has also been noticed that in some cases, the level of decision-making is not mentioned in the basic note; as a result, issues are being decided by the level which is not competent to take such decisions.”
Mr. Goyal did not respond to text messages and calls. Nor could Mr. Anant Kumar Singh be reached for his comments.
The Home Ministry has four officials in the rank of Additional Secretary and two Secretaries for border management and internal security, who report to the Home Secretary. The 20 joint secretaries report to the Home Secretary through the Additional Secretary.
The Hindu has accessed the circular as well as the notings on the Ministry’s internal files, which suggest that on several occasions, Mr. Goyal dealt directly with the Joint Secretaries, and the Additional Secretary got to see the files on their way down, and not on their way up. It is learnt that Home Minister Rajnath Singh was annoyed as the Additional Secretary mentioned this issue on one of the files that reached him.
As reported earlier, Mr. Singh was not happy with Mr. Goyal’s style of functioning, and he approached Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a change of guard.
The circular reflects the difference of opinion among the Ministry’s top two officers, but Mr. Rajnath Singh gave them a long rope, with the action having come only on August 31, sources said.
In the circular, the AS also said: “It will be the personal responsibility of the JS to ensure that all such files, which are required to be routed through the AS as per the Channel of Submission Order, are marked for the AS without exception.”
The AS issued the circular after several such instances.
Sources said the differences between the two officers cropped up in February, when two days after he joined office, Mr. Goyal asked for the file of Archana Ramasundaram, an IPS officer of the Tamil Nadu cadre, whose posting to the CBI had been restrained by the Supreme Court. Ms. Ramasundaram had joined the CBI without her being relieved by the State government on May 8, 2014.
While Mr. Goyal was keen on clearing the name of Ms. Ramasundaram for appointment to any post in the Home Ministry, the AS had objected to it. She was appointed head of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), days before Mr. Goyal’s exit from the Ministry.
Objecting to Ms. Ramasundaram’s appointment, the AS had written: “Some years ago, K.N. Sharma, an IPS officer of the Gujarat cadre, wanted to come to the Government of India on deputation. The MHA sought his availability from the State government. The State government did not forward his name for deputation as it was not cleared from the vigilance side. The MHA decided not to consider him till he was cleared of a departmental inquiry. Mr. Sharma moved the CAT, which quashed the proceedings against him. The MHA then took him on deputation under Rule 6 (i). Although it was legally sound, the then Chief Minister, Narendra Modi (now the Prime Minister), protested strongly against this, saying it was detrimental to the federal structure of the country and it would encourage indiscipline among the All India Service Officers.”