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Centre targets KCR

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NAVEENA GHANATE
Hyderabad

In unprecedented turn of events reflecting another twist to the long-standing Centre-Telangana tussle, TS Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar was relieved by the Union Department of Personnel and Training on Tuesday immediately after the Telangana High Court had quashed his allotment to the Telangana cadre.

The quick succession of events suggests an attempt by the Centre to once again target Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao. Somesh did not get even a breather before he was relieved of his post.

Hours after the HC issued orders; the Centre issued relieving orders to Somesh, asking him to report in AP by January 12.This means that as soon as the HC orders reached DoPT, the relieving orders were issued.

There are several relieving orders pending with DoPT, but the lightning speed at which the Ministry acted in the case of Somesh has raised eyebrows.There are about a dozen AP cadre officers in Telangana and eight TS cadre officers working in AP. Several orders on relieving them are pending.

During the hearing, Somesh’s counsel asked for three weeks to file an appeal, which was rejected by the HC. The only option Somesh had was to move a lunch motion petition, but the DoPT pre-empted that in the case.

On Tuesday, a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Ujjal Bhuyan and Justice Surepalli Nanda allowed the writ filed by the Union Department for Personnel Training (DoPT) seeking suspension of the CAT order.

On March 29, 2016 CAT’s Hyderabad bench had passed an order allotting Somesh Kumar to Telangana. The High Court had reserved its order in July and it was pronounced on Tuesday.

After bifurcation of the united Andhra Pradesh in 2014, the Centre re-allotted IAS and IPS officers working in the undivided state to the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana through the Pratyush Sinha Committee.

In this process, Somesh was allotted to Andhra Pradesh.  However, he had moved CAT and secured an order staying his allotment to the Andhra Pradesh cadre. Since then he has continued in Telangana and became the Chief Secretary in 2019.

Somesh is one of the 16 bureaucrats who had secured orders from CAT. The DoPT had filed an appeal in the High Court challenging the CAT stay order. The bench heard writ petitions filed by the Union Ministry of Personnel Public Grievance seeking suspension of CAT orders, passed in 2016, allocating 13 All-India Service officers to the State from among those officers who had been originally allotted to Andhra Pradesh, including Somesh Kumar, Anjani Kumar IPS, Abhilasha Bhisht IPS, Abhishek Mohanty IPS, and Ronald Rose IAS.

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