In what is fast unfolding as a gripping bureaucratic-cum-political drama in Bengal, a serving district magistrate of Malda was Saturday arrested by the Siliguri Police Commissionerate, in a case of alleged financial scam of nearly Rs 27 crore.
The alleged financial irregularity, slapped against the IAS officer of West Bengal cadre, G Kiran Kumar, was instituted while he was holding the post of chief executive officer (CEO) of Siliguri-Jalpaiguri Development Authority (SJDA) in 2011.
But within hours of the arrest, the Trinamool Congress government was found in a rear guard action, recalling Siliguri Police Commissioner K Jayraman and saying that such arrest of a serving district magistrate was unwarranted.
The West Bengal chief secretary Sanjay Mitra intervened in the evening to say: “It is highly embarrassing and it was not an appropriate action. The government was not kept in the loop.” As a cascading effect, the commissioner of Siliguri police commissionerate was immediately removed from his post Saturday through a verbal order, which was to be followed by a written order.
Inquiries revealed that the wrangle might well be a fallout of an intense political rivalry between two high profile TMC leaders of Siliguri. When G Kiran Kumar was removed to Malda, there were other changes in the set up. The then chairman of the SJDA, Rudranath Bhattacharya, a TMC MLA, was also shunted out. Gautam Deb, also a TMC leader from Siliguri and now minister for North Bengal development, took over from Bhattacharya as chairman of SJDA.
The Siliguri commissioner Jayraman said: “Godala Kiran Kumar has been arrested today. We have specific evidence against him which showed that he is involved in a corruption case. He would be produced before the court today. There were total eight cases of corruption slapped against him during his tenure as the Commissioner of Siliguri-Jalpaiguri Development Authority. The cases were lodged in May and August. Since then we have been investigating into the cases.”