Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Wednesday, 11 January issued a statement warning Punjab civil service (PCS) officers, who are on a mass strike to protest the "wrongful" arrest of a fellow officer, to return to duty by 2 PM, saying that they would be suspended if they failed to do so.
What the CM said: In a notice, the top minister iterated, "It has been brought to my notice that some officers are not attending duty in the garb of some strike. They are protesting against strong action taken by the government against corrupt officers".
He added, "let this be very clear to everyone that this government has zero tolerance to corruption. Such a strike amounts to blackmailing and arm twisting. It cannot be tolerated by any responsible government."
The result: Later in the day, the Punjab Civil Service Officers' Association called off the protest and resumed work, reported The Indian Express.
This came after the additional chief secretary to the chief minister, A Venu Prasad, and the constitution of a committee headed by Chief Secretary Vijay Kumar Janjua conducted a meeting to establish a standard operating procedure to deal with cases of corruption.
The backdrop: Beginning Monday, the administrative officials in Punjab went on five-day mass casual leave to protest against the arrest of PCS officer Narinder Singh Dhaliwal, by the hands of state vigilance bureau.
Why was the PCS officer arrested? Dhaliwal, who was posted as Regional Transport Authority (RTA) in Ludhiana, was alleged to have taken bribes from transporters for sparing them challans for offending vehicles, reported NDTV.
However, the Punjab Civil Service Officers' Association claimed that Dhaliwal was arrested "illegally, wrongfully and arbitrarily and without due procedure."
(With inputs from NDTV and The Indian Express.)