Published On: Fri, Mar 6th, 2015

Former IAS officer criticizes IAS, IPS officers for failing to act during 2002 riots

Ahmedabad: a former Gujarat cadre IAS officer criticized his IAS colleagues and IPS officer for failing to act impartially during the 2002 Gujarat riots.

Former Gujarat cadre IAS officer Alexander K Luke

Former Gujarat cadre IAS officer Alexander K Luke

Alexander K Luke retired nine years ago as a Gujarat cadre IAS official, he left with a reputation of having turning around state public sector undertakings (PSUs), like Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals (GSFC), Gujarat Alkalies and the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam.

Little did the bureaucracy in the state know that he would later hold many of his colleagues responsible for succumbing to political pressure during the “2002 Gujarat bloodbath”.

In a book penned by him that has just been released, Luke has asserted that, had the IPS and IAS officers “held firm and did what they were required to do by the Constitution”, a collapse of the administration “could have been avoided” in 2002.

He headed the GSFC between 2003 and 2006 but was forced to resign two years ahead of his retirement in 2008 just because he refused to follow an order to concede certain concessions to a contractor.

Luke’s book recalls that he was humiliated in an official internal report, and how the then chief minister and now Prime Minister Narendra Modi immediately accepted his resignation without even waiting for a three-day period he had been offered to do a “rethink” on the issue.

The IAS official was being bracketed with corporate honcho Lee Iacocca who had turned around the fortunes of carmaker Chrysler, which was fighting the might of Ford Motors.

Luke drew praise from the Industrial Development Bank of India and Reliance Mutual Fund for his GSFC turnaround.

The Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad took up a case study on how he extricated the GSFC from the red.

Luke, who has returned to his home state Kerala and spends time on farming on his own land, in his book “Passport to Gujarat: Hazardous Journeys”, recalls how three days after the Godhra riots in 2002 he had approached the then state chief secretary G Subbarao with an offer of his services for the relief camps being set up for the victims of violence.

The book says that Subbarao “looked mildly amused” and told him that “running relief camps was not a high priority for the government”.

Asked why he was pointing out these things after he has retired from service, Luke told Mail Today by phone from Kerala: “These are only my reflections from the experiences of my long service as a bureaucrat. This book is not about Gujarat riots, but much more about my attempts to turn around state PSUs.”

Inputs with Mail Today

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