THE CITIZEN BUREAU | 27 APRIL, 2019
“I Still Have No Idea Why I Was Suspended, I Did Nothing,” Says IAS Officer Mohsin on PM Poll Duty, CAT Stays ECI Order
ECI suspends IAS officer without citing a single rule or order
NEW DELHI/BENGALURU: A low profile IAS officer, with 22 years service and not a show case notice against him, has been running from pillar to post ever since the Election Commission of India suspended him for allegedly inspecting the helicopter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Sambalpur in Odisha where he was on election duty. The Bengaluru Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has taken cognizance of his complaint and stayed the order, allowing Mohammad Mohsin to resume his work since yesterday as Secretary in the Backward Classes department in Bengaluru.
Harried, with his voice reflecting the deep tension he is under, Mohsin told TheCitizen that he was in no way responsible for checking the PM’s aircraft or luggage. He said he was on duty there as an Election Commissioner, went to the spot, visited the makeshit police control room, sat with the Collector later, and spent just a short time at the spot in what is essentially a supervisory role. “I am not in any way in charge of these searches,” he said, “it is not my business.”
Till date he does not have a piece of paper from the ECI or any of the concerned authorities as to what rules he had violated, and for what reason he has been suspended. He has written to all concerned including the ECI that has not even bothered to respond. He said he approached the ECI almost sure that when it looked it into the issue it would have found it all to be a big mistake, and would rectify it. But his letters were ignored, and he did not receive a word or a slip of paper citing the order, the section under which the action had been taken.
Mohsin said it was in desperation that he approached CAT as it was going on leave. And the Tribunal stayed the order because of which he has been able to resume his duties. "The suspension order issued by the Election Commission cannot, on the face of it, lie. It is hereby stayed. Applicant will be eligible to re-join his former position under the government of Karnataka without any further ado about it," CAT Member K.B. Suresh stated in the order.
However, the canards do not stop and one of these is the usual, he is close to the Congress party charge. He said that he has had nothing to do with any political party, is not interested in politics, and has just been doing his job. As for this charge --of course part of a smear campaign against the Muslim officer---he said that a Congress minister removed him from his early post as Secretary, Minority Affairs. “So how am I supposed to be close to that party” he asked.
Mohsin said he was groping in complete darkness, “as I have just no idea what I am supposed to have done to warrant this action.” He said that his suspension order did not even mention under what rule or clause he had been served the notice. He said he had nothing to do with flight schedules of the VVIP aircraft, or with the search operations on the ground. “I am just an Election Observer with just a supervisory role, to see that all is as per order”, he said. In this particular instance he raised no objections, saw the overall work and was out of the place in minutes in what was clearly a perfunctory visit as per procedure.
Sources here said that it could be some other problem involving the district authorities who could have decided to make him the fall guy. However, only an enquiry along with videographic proof will bring out the truth. Asked about this Mohsin was not willing to comment saying, “I have just no idea what happened, and why.” on Thursday stayed the suspension of Karnataka cadre IAS officer Mohammed Mohsin by the Election Commission (EC) for inspecting the helicopter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Sambalpur in Odisha on April 16 as an election observer.
"The suspension order issued by the Election Commission cannot, on the face of it, lie. It is hereby stayed. Applicant will be eligible to re-join his former position under the government of Karnataka without any further ado about it," said Tribunal Member K.B. Suresh in the order.
The Election Commission of India had on April 17 suspenden Mohammed Mohsin (IAS) for checking Prime Minister Narendra Modi's helicopter when he was in Odisha to address an election rally. 3-4 days after the suspension, the Election Commission had also transferred him back to Karnataka.
The Election Commission while suspending IAS Mohammed Mohsin said he violated the norms. The 1996 batch Karnataka cadre IAS officer, Mohammed Mohsin, has not acted in conformity with the Election Commission's instructions concerning Special Protection Group or SPG protectees, an order issued by the commission.
"Checking of the prime minister's chopper, undertaken at Sambalpur, was not in accordance with the Election Commission guidelines as SPG protectees are exempt from such checking," said a senior official without elaborating.
The move however was disputed. There are also reports that Mohammed Mohsin IAS did not violate any rule. Reports also said that there is no rule that bars an officer on duty from checking SPG protectees' chopper.