Goswami is first official to go for questionable conduct; Goyal is new boss at Home

Bid to stall arrest of ex-minister Matang Sinh, govt takes strong action and eases out the home secretary

GN Bureau | February 5, 2015




After an unprecedented ouster of a senior bureaucrat for questionable conduct, the government moved swiftly to fill the gap. LC Goyal, who had earlier served as a joint secretary in its internal security division between 2002 and 2007, on Thursday assumed charge as new Home Secretary, a day after Anil Goswami was removed over his alleged role in trying to stall the arrest of former Congress minister Matang Sinh in the multi-crore Saradha scam.

READ: Matang’s clout brings governance under cloud

"The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of LC Goyal, IAS, secretary, department of rural development, as home secretary for a period of two years from the date of taking over charge vice Anil Goswami," a government release said on Wednesday night. Goyal’s term will be for two years. He is a Kerala cadre IAS officer of 1979 batch.

It also said the ACC has also approved request of Goswami for "voluntarily retiring" from service with immediate effect by waiving the notice period.

Goswami , who was summoned by home minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday, is learnt to have explained his position following the controversy over his calls to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials dealing with the Saradha chit fund scam case.

GovernanceNow had reported that he had spoken to CBI officers following their decision to arrest Matang Sinh. Goswami's acknowledged that he had tried to intervene in the Saradha probe on behalf of Sinh

Matang Sinh, who was minister of state in the PV Narasimha Rao government in the 1990s, was arrested on January 31 by the CBI in Kolkata on charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating and misappropriation of funds in the Saradha scam.

Goswami tried to justify his intervention but the minister was unconvinced about the desirability of his interceding with CBI for someone being probed for involvement in the Saradha scam.

With the government strongly disapproving of Goswami's conduct, he was given the option of voluntary retirement nearly five months short of his tenure. This call was taken by the Prime Minister's Office after Singh forwarded the versions of both Goswami as well as CBI director Anil Sinha, whom he heard separately, on the allegations against Goswami.

GovernanceNow had reported that a number of calls were made to CBI by a senior home ministry functionary, who lobbied hard to prevent Sinh from being called to Kolkata for interrogation. Even as Sinh was being questioned, the same functionary called the CBI brass in an effort to stall his arrest. Sinh was arrested on January 31 for allegedly receiving Rs 28 crore from Saradha group chief Sudipta Sen.

 Goswami, an IAS officer of Jammu and Kashmir cadre, was appointed home secretary during the term of the previous United Progressive Alliance government.

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