IAS officer Kannan Gopinathan refutes allegations that he quit because of MHA notice on ‘misconduct’

Kannan Gopinathan  

IAS officer Kannan Gopinathan, who resigned from service last month in protest against the restrictions and communication ban in Jammu and Kashmir, has refuted allegations that he quit because of a Union Home Ministry notice for misconduct and dereliction of duty.

A news agency had reported citing ‘sources’ that the officer was to be sacked for his conduct and was given 10 days time to revert with his clarification to the Ministry for the notice issued on July 8. He quit the job on August 21.

In a detailed response posted on Twitter, the officer shared the clarifications that he had earlier mailed the authorities. He said that after he submitted his response to the authorities, he was on August 5 given the additional charge as MD of two smart cities and Secretary of Urban Development and Town And Country Planning. In fact, he had spoken to The Hindu on the notice and his response, when the newspaper sought his statement regarding his resignation.

On the allegation that he had failed to submit a report on his return from Kerala, where he had gone to chalk out a plan on how Dadra and Nagar Haveli could help the flood victims, he said, “I had called on the Chief Minister and handed over ₹1 crore recommendation letter from MPLADs recommended by the MP of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, after which I took part in relief activities at various centres. As my intention was to contribute as an individual and volunteer in this humanitarian effort, I had not revealed my identity. However at the Ernakulam centre, the District Collector there identified me and introduced me to the other volunteers there. This then got covered and appreciated in the various regional and national media and amongst the service fraternity as well. In this particular instance, I had gone beyond my call of normal duty and tried to do my best for the relief and rehabilitation work as an officer and as a conscientious citizen of the country,” he said in his response.

On the allegation that he had failed to prepare the nominations for the Prime Minister’s award under various categories for innovations in public administration, he said that the claim was incorrect. “In fact, five applications were made under various categories for the said award. Out of which, the district was shortlisted in two categories - PMAY(Urban) and PMAY(rural). Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we did not win that award,” he said.

On the allegation that there was a delay of nine months on his part in submitting a file to amend the policy regarding discontinuation of issue of Permanent Residence Certificate, he said that a written direction was never given to put up the file within a specific timeline and all communications with respect to the said file were verbal. The delay was due to him being preoccupied with election duties and due to the model code of conduct being in force.

“I was directed by the Administrator in November 2018 to prepare a timeline of various notifications with respect to issuance of PR certificates. The timeline was submitted in December and after a brief discussion, the Administrator asked me to put up the file, which I immediately passed on to the subordinates. However, owing to my involvement on war footing for the impending visit of the Prime Minister to Silvassa and thereafter my responsibility as District Election Officer and Returning Officer for the General Election 2019, preoccupied a majority of my time. I was reminded of the file by the advisor to the Administrator in the third week of March. On this occasion, I had submitted that since reduction of years required for permanent residency is a policy decision, as the model code of conduct is in force, it might be appropriate to put up the file after the elections. Later, as per direction, the file was put up on May 17, the Administrator gave approval on May 23 and notification to the effect was made on May 31,” said Mr. Gopinathan.

On the allegation that he was asked to get the work of underground cabling and shifting of electric poles completed by May 2018 to enable early execution of the projects of beautification of roads from Naroli to Saheed Chowk and from there to Samarwani, which was not done till March 2019, he shared a work schedule of the proposed shifting and said that the scheduled completion as per the awarded work order was July 2019.

“Considerable time of approximately 8 months has been taken by other departments for issuance of permission to progress the said work in the intended manner. The delay in getting required permission was known to all authorities concerned as the final detailed design for beautification of roads was not available from the consultant till then and PWD had initiated recovery proceedings from the said consultant for this failure. In this scenario, the early completion of the work by May 2018 was not at all possible,” he says.

On the allegation that he had bypassed the prescribed reporting channel for appointment of director on board of DNH Power Distribution Company, by sending files directly to the administrator instead of routing through the advisor, he cited past precedents from recent years of similar submissions.

This article has been updated with Mr. Gopinathan's response.

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Printable version | May 11, 2021 1:46:25 PM |

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