Buta, Lalu defend themselves

Officer posted to South Western Railway in the same capacity: Railway Ministry

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Both Bihar Governor Buta Singh and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad on Friday said there was nothing wrong with the former writing a letter to the latter for the transfer of a middle-level Railway Ministry bureaucrat, while senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Vijay Kumar Malhotra described it as "highly improper."

On the other hand, the Railway Ministry said the officer concerned had been posted to South Western Railway in the same capacity in his cadre on August 2, a fortnight before the media highlighted an official letter written by Mr. Singh to Mr. Prasad in early July requesting the transfer of the officer, Vijay P. Meshram, to Central Railway.

"There is no such proposal at present to transfer Mr. Meshram to Central Railway. All such matters are dealt with on merit as per rules. An appropriate reply to the Governor of Bihar is in the process of being issued," added the Railway Ministry statement.

Reacting to the reports, Mr. Singh said there was no code for Governors, which says whether a Governor can write such letters, or not.

Speaking to newspersons here, Mr. Singh said he had recommended the case of a scheduled caste officer and, if necessary, he would do so again.

The Railway Minister also confirmed that the Bihar Governor had written to him seeking the official's transfer over a month ago but felt "it was natural [for the Governor] to write a letter to me."

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