KATHMANDU, Sept 15: Going against the system and tradition of the bureaucracy, Forest Minister Pradeep Yadav has demoted a Director General to the post of Deputy Director General.
A meeting of the Council of Ministers held on Monday, demoted Dr Rajendra KC, Director General of the Department of Forests and Soil Conservation to Deputy Director General.
The decision was taken by the Council of Ministers on the proposal of Forest Minister Yadav. Minister Yadav has demoted Director General KC to the post of Deputy Director General of the Forest Research and Training Centre (FRTC). Devesh Mani Tripathi has taken the place of KC. Both KC and Tripathi are joint-secretary level officials. However, KC is senior to Tripathi.
Six months ago, KC was appointed to the forest department. Regarding the demotion from Director General to Deputy Director General, KC said, "Transfer of employees is a regular process. We have to go to the place assigned by the government. However, this decision may have been taken on a whim." Similarly, an employee close to KC said, "This is a serious injustice to him (KC)." According to ministry sources, the minister was angry with KC for not acting according to his interests.
The Cabinet meeting held on Monday has made another strange decision. Director General of the Department of Money Laundering Investigation, Prem Bhattarai has been transferred from the post of Director General while he was abroad. He has been transferred to the Council of Ministers and the Prime Minister's Office. Bhattarai has gone to Singapore to participate in a program related to money laundering investigation. He is scheduled to return to Kathmandu on Thursday.
According to the government decision, Taranath Adhikari has replaced Bhattarai. Last week, Bhattarai went to Singapore to participate in an international program organized by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international organization related to money laundering and Interpol. In addition to Bhattarai, the secretary of the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, Dhanraj Gyawali, too, is in Singapore. Information officer for the department, Rishiram Pokharel said, "This is just a coincidence."
However, an employee of the department said, “When there is an international level program on money laundering, changing the head of the organization representing Nepal may not send a good message to the world,” He said, “Due to such errors, Nepal can be placed in International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG). According to experts, it is not good to be in the ICRG group. An employee of the department said, "Being in ICRG does not mean to be blacklisted, but it is not considered good either. This means to be in the gray list, one level below the black list.”
Meanwhile, Information Officer Pokharel said that there is no possibility that Nepal will be placed in the ICRG for transferring the Director General while he was abroad as employee transfer is a regular process.
Likewise, the Cabinet meeting held on Monday transferred Home Secretary Tek Narayan Pandey from the Home Ministry. Transferring the secretary is a natural decision, however, Home Secretary Pandey was scheduled to go to Australia as Home Secretary on September 17. Air tickets were also booked for that, but in this situation, the government has transferred Pandey.
A source in the Prime Minister's Office said, "Now he will be able to go abroad as a secretary, not as the home secretary." The government has transferred Pandey to the Office of the Vice-president. It is very rare to be transferred from home to the Vice President's office at once. While the employees are attracted toward the Home Ministry, the office of the Vice President is considered the least attractive office for the Secretary.
“Being transferred directly from the Home Ministry to the Vice President's office is like receiving punishment," said an employee of the Prime Minister's Office. Some 17 months ago, Pandey was transferred to the home ministry from the Ministry of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation.