New Delhi: In yet another embarrassment for the UPA government, a Secretary-level bureaucrat on Wednesday complained against Finance Minister P Chidambaram even as eyebrows were raised on the transfer of the Health Secretary.
In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh through Urban Development (UD) Minister Kamal Nath, UD Secretary Sudhir Krishna referred to an official meeting which led to the complaint.
Krishna claimed that Chidambaram told him at the meeting he could not understand his English.
He further claimed that the Minister said he should speak in Hindi which his officers will translate for him in English.
Krishna has alleged in his complaint that Chidamabaram repeated the same remark over and over in a "tone and tenor that was expressely humiliating".
Seeking redressal, he has requested Nath to bring the matter to the notice of the Prime Minister.
"I do not discuss the communication from Secretary to me and vice versa," Nath told a TV channel when asked to comment on the controversy.
The meeting was called to discuss release of additional central assistance for the JNNURM projects that were already sanctioned but were pending for release of funds by the Finance Ministry.
Besides Krishna, the meeting was attended by Expenditure Secretary and officers of Finance Ministry and the UD Ministry.
In a reshuffle ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the Union Health and Family Welfare Secretary Keshav Desiraju has been transferred to Consumer's affairs ministry, one year after he assumed that post.
Some more senior officers in the department are likely to be shifted ahead of the general elections.
When asked about his transfer, Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said, "These are administrative things. I don't think people should get into it. Officer's and Ministers' portfolio's change, it is a regular affair. He is a capable officer."
According to sources, Azad was apparently not happy with Desiraju's performance of late.
Desiraju, a 1978-batch IAS officer from Uttarakhand cadre, was appointed a year ago as the Health Secretary.
He had joined the Ministry as an Additional Secretary in 2010, after completing his tenure as the Chief Secretary of Uttarakhand.