Controversy is once again brewing in the union territory of Puducherry between Chief Minister Narayanasamy and Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi. The L-G has said that the CM’s travel to Singapore was undertaken without proper permissions and is a state security issue.
Chief Minister Narayanswamy left on a trip to Singapore on Wednesday where he held meetings with investors and infrastructure development consultants. He was also a speaker at the Economic Times Asian Business Leaders Conclave. However, L-G Kiran Bedi issued a statement on Friday saying that she was compelled to complain to the Government of India as her office had no information regarding the travels. Terming it a state security issue, she said that ‘prior approval of the appointing authority’ was necessary for the CM to undertake travel.
“[I am] not sure how many times the [Chief Minister] and [Health Minister Malladi Krishna Rao] have taken due permission. I believe the Government of India has already asked for this information about Mr Malladi which he is yet to furnish. I, as Administrator, am dealing with departmental cases of public servants, where, when no prior permission the official went overseas he or she has been charged with major penalties as punishment and treated as an act of indiscipline. Since the office of the Lt Governor has no information at all of their travels, in the interest of security of state I have been compelled to report this pattern to Government of India with a request to either remind the CM and his Honorable Ministers the applicable protocols for such visits on them and to follow the due processes required for foreign travels, private or official,” the L-G wrote. She alleged that Health Minister Malladi Krishna Rao “is known to be a frequent traveller to Sri Lanka.”
A press statement issued by the Chief Minister’s office on Friday pointed out that the Chief Minister had visited the island-nation to woo investors and appraise international business people regarding the opportunities in Puducherry. Particularly, the Chief Minister was looking to explore the development of the tourism industry in the union territory.
The controversy appears to have begun following the issuing of a note by the Chief Minister's Officer on Special Duty. With a copy marked to the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police, it only gave the dates of CM Narayanasamy's arrival and departure, terming his visit to Singapore a private one. L-G Bedi said that the Government of India must know who is hosting the CM and funding the 'private visit.'