IAS officer Kannan Gopinathan, who resigned last month ostensibly over restrictions imposed in Kashmir, was under the scanner of the Union Home Ministry which had issued a show-cause notice to him for alleged “misconduct” and proposed to initiate “appropriate disciplinary action” against him.
The Union Home Ministry had issued him the show cause notice on July 8 after receiving a proposal from the government of Union Territory of Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli for allegedly “indulging in various acts of omission and commission”, including “act of insubordination” and “dereliction of duty”.
The 33-year-old IAS officer of AGMUT cadre, posted as Secretary in the Power Department of the Union Territories of Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli, tendered his resignation on August 21.
Before resigning, he had submitted his reply to the notice on July 31, saying that he had carried out his work with honesty and diligence and hence “I request that the proposal to initiate disciplinary action may kindly be dropped and filed.”
The show-cause notice, a copy of which is in possession of IANS, said, “Whereas the UT Administration of Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli has brought to the notice of Ministry of Home Affairs that Shri Kannan Gopinathan, IAS, has been indulging in various acts of omission and commission which constitute misconduct within the meaning of rule (3) of the IAS (Conduct) Rules 1968.
“The UT Administration has inter-alia informed the Ministry of Home Affairs, vide their letter no. 6/117/2019-PER/478 dated 11.06.2019 that Shri Kannan Gopinathan, IAS, has been indulging in act of insubordination, adoption of dilatory tactics and dereliction of duty etc.”
The Home Ministry asked him to “show cause within 10 days from the date of receipt of this Memorandum as to why disciplinary proceedings should not be initiated against him” for the “acts of omission and commission”.
He was asked to submit his reply through the Advisor to the Administrator, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli. The Advisor to the Administrator was asked to “examine the reply/clarification” of Gopinathan within 15 days thereafter and submit the recommendations of the UT Administration with the approval of the Administrator to the MHA within the same period.
The charges for which the show cause notice was issued against Gopinathan included:
“That a delay of nine months was observed on part of Sh Kannan Gopinathan in submitting a file to amend the policy regarding discontinuation of issue of Permanent Resident Certificate,” it said.
It said Gopinathan was “asked to get the work of underground electrical cabling and shifting of electric poles completed by May 2018 to enable early execution of projects of beautification of roads from Naroli to Saheed Chowk and from Saheed Chowk to Samarwani. However, the poles could not be shifted until March 2019.”
The memo also said the Gopinathan “bypassed the prescribed reporting channel. Three such instances dated 26/06/2018, 16/07/2018 and 15/10/2018 for appointed of Director on the Board of DNH Power Distribution Company Limited had come to notice. He had submitted files directly to the Hon’ble Administrator without routing them through the Advisor to the Administrator.”
The charge also included that he visited Kerala in the wake of a massive flood in the state “to meet the officers concerned and chalk out a plan as to how the UT Administration can help the flood victims. He failed to submit any report on his return from the tour.”
The MHA note added that Gopinathan “was asked to prepare the nominations for Prime Ministers Award under various categories for innovations in Public administration. However, he failed to comply with the said directions.”
The IAS officer of 2012 batch replied to the show cause notice on July 31, denying charges of insubordination, dereliction of duty and dilatory tactics.
“It is submitted that I have been performing my duties diligently and to the best of my abilities,” he wrote in his response.
“I would like to humbly reiterate that, as evident from the above facts and circumstances, I have put in all efforts to deliver as an officer for service of the people of Dadra & Nagar Haveli. However, I regret any shortcomings felt therein and assure that efforts shall be made to improve upon them. Hence, in light of the above facts, I request that the proposal to initiate disciplinary action may kindly be dropped and filed,” he wrote.
Gopinathan said he had been honest and committed to his duties, because of which the UT Administrator gave him 9.95 out of 10 points in the December 2018 appraisal.
He gave a detailed break-up of the work carried out under his various charges and how excise collections increased during his time and how there was an improvement in the functioning and delivery of the various departments he was in charge of.
On August 20, he tweeted, “I once thought being in civil services meant an opportunity to expand the rights and freedoms of fellow citizens!”
He said he was “compelled” to give details of his work “to put the specific events of alleged failures/misconduct mentioned in the memorandum in the context of the dedicated efforts put in by me towards efficient and effective public administration.”
Gopinathan resigned on August 21, claiming that he was “disturbed” over the curbs imposed in Jammu and Kashmir since August 5 after the state’s special status was ended.