Day ahead of Budget session, no sign of Assembly Secretary
NEW DELHI: Just a day before the commencement of the Delhi Assembly Budget session, Assembly Secretary Prasanna Kumar Suryadevara is mysteriously missing from his office since March 10.
However, Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel refused to comment, though he is expected to speak on the issue on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta repeatedly raised questions about Suryadevara's "sudden and mysterious disappearance".
The Budget session of the sixth legislative Assembly will commence from March 16, with Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal set to address the house at 11 am.
Sources in the Delhi Assembly said that the officer was on leave and was likely to report back to Prasar Bharati, from where he came on deputation in July 2016.
The Assembly Secretary himself was also not available for comment.
Meanwhile, Gupta demanded to know if the officer has been relieved from his duties and repatriated.
In retaliation, Goel slammed Gupta, saying instead of an officer, the Bharatiya Janata Party should be concerned about the ongoing sealing drive, due to which traders are facing hardship.
An official, who wished to remain anonymous, said the Assembly Secretary has not been coming to office for the last 10 days.
Gupta, the BJP MLA from Rohini Assembly constituency, demanded that either the Delhi government or the Assembly must come "clean" about Suryadevara's absence from his office.
In a statement, the BJP legislator said, "His (Suryadevara) disappearance is all the more surprising at this juncture, when the Delhi Assembly (Budget) session is going to start from Friday.
"Since the secretary of the Assembly occupies an important position and has to play significant role in preparation of the session, any news or order about his absence acquires great significance before start of the session," he said.
Gupta further stated, "Suryadevara's continuation had become a bone of contention among the Centre, Assembly Speaker, Prasar Bharti and former LG Najeeb Jung.
"When he was repatriated to his parent office by the Centre, the Assembly continued to retain him despite LG's order to the contrary."
Reacting to Gupta's press statement, Speaker Goel said the Assembly's Secretary is a very "esteemed post", and he should not make "baseless allegations".
"Due to absence of the Secretary, no work of the Assembly Secretariat is getting affected. Instead of the Assembly Secretary, the BJP should be concerned about the ongoing sealing drive due to which city traders are facing a lot of problems," Goel said.
Suryadevara had also served as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to Somnath Chatterjee when he was the Lok Sabha Speaker.
Before moving to the Delhi Assembly, Suryadevara served in the Lok Sabha for five years and the Rajya Sabha for over six years through the offices of LS Speaker and RS Chairman respectively.