Bengal, May 29: The central government has issued an order to recall West Bengal’s top bureaucrat from the state on a day a row broke out over a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay’s tenure was extended for three months only four days ago, as was to retire on 31st May.

The centre has asked Bengal to send Bandyopadhyay to the Department of Personnel and Training’s office in Delhi by May 31 morning.

Bandyopadhyay took over as the chief secretary of West Bengal after Rajiva Sinha retired in September last year.

This comes hours after Banerjee skipped a meeting with PM Modi to assess the impact of Cyclone Yaas, choosing instead a quick 15-minute interaction with him at an airbase where his flight landed.

The state government seeks clarification behind the sudden recall of Alapan Bandyopadhyay. Earlier it is extended due to the current situation of Covid and Cyclone.

This is not the first time the centre has recalled top bureaucrats from states to Delhi. Just before the assembly election in Bengal this year, three Indian Police Service (IPS) officers were recalled.

This is the second time that the Union government has invoked the All India Services Rule in the last five months. Earlier in December, the Centre had directed the West Bengal government to immediately relieve three IPS officers so that they could join their new assignments at the Centre.

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The three officers- Bholanath Pandey (SP, Diamond Harbour), Praveen Tripathi (DIG, Presidency Range), and Rajeev Mishra (ADG, South Bengal) – were directed to report on central deputation in December last year after the West Bengal government refused to send its chief secretary and police chief to Delhi to discuss the law and order situation in the state.

The three were responsible for the security of BJP President J P Nadda during his visit to the state for building up momentum for electioneering when his convoy was attacked at Diamond Harbour.

However, according to the officials, these three officers were never released by the state government.

In 2019, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sat on Dharna when the CBI team tried to question Rajeev Kumar this weekend in Kolkata accusing the central government of attempting a “coup“.