Senior Haryana IAS officer Pradeep Kasni, who red-flagged appointment of new information commissioners by the Hooda government, today accused the state Chief Secretary of threatening him.
Kasni, who is Secretary, Administrative Reforms, alleged that he got objectionable SMSes on Sunday night from Chief Secretary SC Choudhary over his stand on the appointment of new commissioners.
Admitting that he had sent the messages, Choudhary, however, sought to play it down, claiming these were "jokes" between "friends" and expressed regret to the officer if they had hurt his sentiments.
"The SMSs are objectionable, written in bad language and in bad taste... All these messages are in bad language and not ones which carry encouraging tone," Kasni told reporters here.
One message by Choudhary read,
"Good night. Please enjoy your new status of being a celebrity... But agar apni maa ka doodh piya h to mere saare msg press ko dikha dena (If you are a man, I dare you to show my messages to the press)."
Choudhry, who retires two days later, told PTI: "I am pained to hear this kind of reaction from him. We are like brothers and know each other well as we belong to the same district. All the messages sent by me were intended to be jokes, which friends usually exchange among themselves.
"However, I have offered my regret to him today, saying there was no intention to cause any hurt."
Choudhry has been named as Chairman of the Right to Service Commission.
When contacted, Kasni said for him text messages were not the main issue. "We have not exchanged any message as friends in the past."
"The messages were in filthy language. I am shocked. I am not going to file any police complaint against the Chief Secretary. He is my boss and I have always had high regards for him," Kasni said.
A row had erupted over Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda administering the oath of office to new information commissioners with the Opposition describing the move as "unconstitutional".
Kasni had refused to go along with a controversial move by Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
Kasni said for him the larger issue was that officers should not get lured by some post-retirement benefits as it threatens to endanger the whole administrative system.
"About the appointments, I had raised some points that included Search Committee not doing its job. There is pressure on officers to do wrong things. But, it is our duty to stand up and do the right thing. I am just a small fry, but it is my duty to point out if things are wrong," he said.
On concerns raised by Kasni on the appointments, the Chief Secretary had earlier said all members had fulfilled the requisite qualifications and there was not a single member who was holding any post of profit during the appointment.
In his message to Kasni offering regret, the Chief Secretary said,
"Dear Pradeep, you know that I treat you like my younger brother. It (referring to the SMSes) was said in lighter vein, but it seems part of my message has hurt your feelings. If that is the case, I regret those words which have hurt your sentiments. We are and will remain friends."
The Opposition claimed Hooda had administered the oath barely an hour after the new Governor had taken charge on Sunday.
It also alleged the rules and procedures in making the appointments were not followed.
Kasni is the second senior bureaucrat to have taken on the Hooda government after Ashok Khemka, who hit the spotlight by questioning controversial land deals between DLF and Robert Vadra, the businessman son-in-law of Sonia Gandhi. Vadra had refuted the charges of wrongdoings.
"Lure for post-retirement sinecures harming institutions. New agencies are created to dangle crumbs before pliable bureaucrats and judges," tweeted Khemka.