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Uttarakhand CM orders probe into feud of minister and IAS

Dehradun: Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has ordered a probe into the running feud between state minister Rekha Arya and IAS officer V Shanmugam as the two have levelled allegations at each other and escalated the matter by writing to chief secretary Om Prakash last week.

What made the minister and the IAS officer, dagger drawn is the former's allegation of irregularities in a manpower outsourcing tender of women empowerment and child development department.

In her letter to the CS, Arya has highlighted the issue of a tender process to finalise an outsource agency which provided jobs to 400 persons in different projects. As the minister of the department, she had been raising the issue and sought fixing of accountability of those involved in the tender. Arya pointed out that the department did not take the matter seriously and though the time period of the selected agency expired in May 2020, the process of finalising an agency could not be completed timely.

The minister said that the decisions taken by Shanmugam, who is the director of the department, caused a major setback to around 400 outsourced employees who had not been paid for the past few months.

Refuting the allegation levelled against him, Shanmugam too has written a three-page letter to the CS apprising him of various facts, including his decision of self-isolation. The CM has asked principal secretary Manisha Pawar to probe the matter and check all the documents related to the outsourcing tender.

However, Arya has expressed her apprehensions over the fairness of the probe, saying that an inquiry by an IAS officer involving another IAS officer would not be impartial. "I have my doubts when an IAS officer is given the task of probing a matter linked with another IAS officer. It would have been better if a retired High Court judge is handed over the probe," Arya told reporters.

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