Goswami removed as home secretary

Cabinet appoints Goyal successor
Last Updated : 04 February 2015, 20:38 IST
Last Updated : 04 February 2015, 20:38 IST

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Home Secretary Anil Goswami was removed on Wednesday night for trying to prevent the CBI from arresting former Union minister and Congress leader Matang Sinh, an accused in the Saradha scam.

The unprecedented move, the first of its kind against a home secretary, came after Goswami admitted before Home Minister Rajnath Singh that he had telephoned CBI officials to stall Sinh’s arrest.

Late in the night, the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the government had accepted Goswami's “request” for voluntary retirement from service “with immediate effect by waiving the notice period”. The ACC also announced the appointment of L C Goyal, a 1979-batch Kerala cadre IAS officer, Goswami's successor.  Goyal is now secretary in the Rural Development Ministry. 

“Consequent upon the approval (of Goswami's request), the term of Goswami as home secretary will stand curtailed with immediate effect,” the order stated. “Goyal has been appointed home secretary for a period of two years from the date of taking charge,” it added.

He is the fourth top official after Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, DRDO chief Avinash Chander and SPG chief Durgaprasad to be sacked from their posts after the NDA government assumed power.
Sinh, the minister of state for Parliamentary Affairs in the P V Narasimha Rao government, was arrested on Saturday and charged with criminal conspiracy, cheating and misappropriation of funds in Saradha Realty, one of the companies of the group which is being probed by the CBI.

As media reports about Goswami’s “misdemeanour” poured in, an upset Singh summoned the home secretary to his office and sought an explanation. During his nearly one-hour-long meeting, sources said, Goswami explained the sequence of events to Singh.

The home minister then called CBI Director Anil Sinha to hear the agency’s version during which the latter reiterated that Goswami telephoned his officials. Sources revealed that Singh spoke to Goswami on Tuesday night itself.

Later, the home minister briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the developments and his interactions with Goswami and Sinha on the issue. 

Sources said Goswami’s continuance became “untenable” as he “was found interfering” in the affairs of an autonomous investigating agency.

Earlier in the day, Goswami did not respond to questions from the media. He said, “Have you ever heard me say anything to the media.”

Goswami, however, attended a meeting at Sena Bhavan, apparently related to building walls in border villages of Jammu and Kashmir.

Published 04 February 2015, 20:38 IST

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