On Tuesday, the Punjab government relieved Chief Secretary of Punjab, Karan Avtar Singh, who was in charge of the post of the Financial Commissioner, Taxation from his duties. This comes just three days after his showdown with state ministers.
Principal Secretary (Water Resources) A Venu Prasad will now hold the additional charge of FC Taxation, according to an order issued by the Punjab government. As Prasad is on leave till May 20, Principal Secretary Anirudh Tewari will look after the work of the post of Financial Commissioner Taxation in addition to his present assignments, it added.
Relieving Karan Avtar Singh of the additional charge of FC Taxation unceremoniously came after a face-off between him and Punjab ministers at Saturday's pre-cabinet meeting over the revision of the excise policy.
At the meeting, Technical Education Minister Charanjit Singh Channi was learnt to have opposed any relief for liquor vend owners in the excise policy under discussion. The chief secretary had allegedly made some "curt remarks" after Channi spoke.
Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal and Channi had then walked out. It was reportedly followed by other ministers after some time. The development led to the postponement of the cabinet meeting scheduled for that day.
However, after the cabinet meeting on Monday, Badal had said the "behaviour, body language and style of conversation" of Karan Avtar Singh before the cabinet did not behove the chief secretary's office. Both Badal and Channi on Monday had said they would not participate in any meeting attended by the state's chief secretary, deepening the crisis triggered by the showdown between the ministers and the state's top bureaucrat.
(Inputs from Agencies)