MHA to act against IAS officer who criticised J&K move

IAS officer Kannan Gopinath (Twitter Image)

Two months after submitting his resignation against the Centre's "open and brazen violation of fundamental rights" in Jammu and Kashmir, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has initiated disciplinary proceedings against IAS officer Kannan Gopinath, claiming his actions were capable of "embarrassing" the government's relations with other organisations, including foreign countries.

A chargesheet has been served to him on October 24 as part of the enquiry process, stating that his resignation on August 21 has not been accepted till now and that he has kept away from duty without prior permission, despite being asked to continue.

Gopinath, a 2012-batch IAS officer of AGMUT cadre who hails from Kerala and was posted as Secretary (Power), Daman and Diu as well as Dadra and Nagar Haveli and holding additional charges of both the union territories, had quit in protest following the government's decision to scrap special status for Jammu and Kashmir. He had since then participated in public meetings and was active on social media.

According to the chargesheet shared by Gopinath himself on social media, the MHA said his unauthorised absence from duty shows "grave misconduct" and he "failed to maintain absolute integrity, devotion to duty and acted in a manner which is unbecoming of a government servant".

He was also accused of "unauthorisedly communicating with the print, electronic and social media on the issues of government policies and such criticism of government policies on his part is capable of embarrassing the relations of central government with other organisations, including foreign State".

Posting the chargesheet on social media, Gopinath shot back, "final charge is that my interaction with media created an adverse image of GoI. Sorry. It is your actions that creates such an image. Not my interactions. But good to know that you have been watching them. Slowly you will learn about fundamental rights. That’s the plan."

The MHA chargesheet also accused Gopinath, who was given 15 days to respond of adopting "dilatory tactics" in discharge of his official duties and "insubordination".

Gopinath was also accused of not sending tour report after he went to Kerala during 2018 floods to take part in relief work. His participation in relief work concealing his identity as an IAS officer came to light only after he returned to duty.

The MHA also claimed that he did not submit the file relating to nominations of Prime Minister's Award for innovation in public administration within the stipulated time frame. 

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