The appointment of senior IPS officer Archana Ramasundaram as CBI Additional Director and her subsequent suspension by the State government soon after she took over her new post, threatens to snowball into a major confrontation between the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government.
Even as the Supreme Court restrained the Tamil Nadu cadre officer from discharging her duty in her new capacity, the issue has triggered a heated debate over the entire process of Ms. Ramasundaram’s appointment.
“As per rule, the officer’s name should be in the offer list for deputation and the Union government has to make the selection and intimate the State Government. In the case of CBI, an appointment is made through the Central Vigilance Commission’s selection board and finally the Prime Minister-led Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) approves it,” said a Home Ministry official.Suspension invalid
A senior government official said Ms. Ramasundaram’s suspension by the State government was not valid as the action was taken after she joined CBI. “Also, she can remain under suspension only for three months, after which the State government will have to seek concurrence from the Centre to extend it,” he added.
“The State government had initially given an approval to the officer to apply for deputation and then refused to relieve her despite repeated reminders. On a request from the CBI Director, who cited that a crucial post had been lying vacant for long, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) finally directed her to immediately join duty,” said another senior IPS officer.
The officer recounted another recent case in which Gujarat cadre IPS officer Kuldeep Sharma was promoted and appointed by the Centre as Additional Director-General in the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) without the State Government’s consent.
While CBI Director Ranjit Sinha said the agency would abide by the Supreme Court’s decision on the matter, the former CBI chief P.C. Sharma said the officer should not have joined without being relieved by the State government. “The issue has the potential to strain the Centre-State relations. Ms. Ramasundaram has worked under me. She is a brilliant officer. But she has been wrongly advised and it is ultimately she who is now at the receiving end.”
“Now that the Supreme Court has called for files, all aspects surrounding the appointment would be looked into by the apex court,” official sources said adding that it would be for the new government to take a call as per the directions of the top court.
The 1980-batch IPS officer’s appointment triggered a controversy following reports that the ACC overlooked the CVC board’s recommendation of West Bengal cadre IPS officer R.K. Pachnanda for the post.