J&K: IAS officer transferred for serving sandwiches and not kebabs!

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Srinagar/New Delhi, Aug 9: The country has been left fuming over the suspension of IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal in Uttar Pradesh, but she is not the only one to tell such tales. Two other bureaucrats in Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh made to the headlines recently for taking on elements and the latest in the news is Sonali Kumar, a 1979-batch IAS officer, who was transferred out of an important post in Jammu and Kashmir for a reason which appeared far from convincing.

Kumar has alleged that she was shunted out from the post of principal resident commissioner of the state in New Delhi because local bureaucrats were not happy with the food and lodging arrangements that she had made for them during a recent trip to the capital.

Reports said she was transferred because she had served sandwiches and Diet coke to officials who wanted biriyani and kebabs!

Kumar, 57, has now been posted as the chairperson of the state's special tribunal.

Chief secretary of the state Mohammad Iqbal Khandey rubbished such allegations to say that Sonali's transfer, along with 18 others, was a routine administrative exercise.

A delegation of bureaucrats from Jammu and Kashmir was in Delhi on July 14 for finalising the state's annual plan. The delegation went with state Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and other state ministers and Sonali was in charge of their hospitality.

Sources said the visitors were served "poor" lunch and were kept at Kashmir House while those from other states found accommodation in a luxurious hotel. Soon after, Sonali was given the marching orders and a local daily linked it with the bureaucrats complaining against her. Sources also said that the senior IAS officer had drawn ire of some Jammu and Kashmir legislators who went to Delhi on July 18 to inspect state property. They accused Sonali of not taking proper care.

This is not the first time that Sonali has made the headlines. The officer said she was transferred 11 times in six years. In 2008, she was indicted as the principal secretary of the agriculture production department for alleged favouritism.

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