Henceforth, all letters recording approval of higher authority should be shown to them

Facing an unrelenting Opposition targeting P. Chidambaram over the allegation that he had misused his office in getting a case dropped against hotelier S.P. Gupta, who was once his client, the Union Home Ministry has scrambled to put its house in order.

Well-placed sources said the Ministry is in the process of issuing a circular to its officers to ensure that all letters recording approval of the higher authority should also be shown to them.

At the centre of the controversy is the May 9, 2011 letter by the Director (Delhi) of the Home Ministry to the Principal Secretary (Home) of the Delhi government, which said the Delhi government should take “action for withdrawal of prosecution immediately” against Mr. Gupta. It also claimed that it had the Minister's approval.

It has turned out that the Home Minister had seen the file only once on May 4 this year, and said only the Law Ministry's opinion should be forwarded to the Delhi government without any recommendation of the Home Ministry. Clearly, the blame was being sought to be put at the door of a junior officer for the “fault” in drafting the letter and sending it to the Delhi government without showing it to either the Joint Secretary or the Home Secretary.

“From now on, all official communication which records approval by a higher authority — be it the Joint Secretary, the Home Secretary or the Home Minister — should also be shown to them by junior officers,” the sources said. Though the procedure would add to the workload of the already burdened officials, it would act as a caution against possible goof-ups. Mr. Chidambaram, who summoned the former Home Secretary, G.K. Pillai, at short notice on Friday, dismissed the BJP's allegations as “completely unfounded.” But the BJP and other Opposition parties that stalled Parliament for two days over the issue and demanded his resignation appear in no mood to back off.

More In: National | News | Delhi