The Karnataka government issued a show-cause notice to IAS officer Mohammad Mohsin for his tweet praising the Tablighi Jamaat for donating plasma.
In his tweet, Mohsin praised Jamaat members who have recovered from COVID-19 for donating plasma for plasma therapy and called them heroes.
"More than 300 Tablighi Heroes are donating their plasma to serve the country in New Delhi only? What about? #Godi Media? They will not show the works of Humanity done by these Heroes," Mohsin had tweeted on April 27. The tweet was deleted later.
The officer was briefly suspended by the Election Commission during Lok Sabha elections in April last year for ordering a check of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's helicopter.
The Department of Personnel & Administrative Reforms (DPAR) while issuing the notice stated that the "the Government has taken a serious note of the adverse coverage the tweet has received in the media, given the serious nature of the COVID-19 issue and the sensitivities involved."
The government has sought a written explanation from Mohsin within five days as to why this should not be interpreted as a violation of Rule 7 of All India Services (Conduct) Rules, 1968 and why disciplinary action should not be initiated against him under the provisions of the All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1969.
"If you do not submit your explanation/reply on or before the time limit specified above, it will be presumed that you have no defence to offer and further action will be taken as per the All India Services (D&A) Rules," the notice said.
A senior state bureaucrat told PTI, "The Karnataka government has made it clear that it would not hesitate to act even against powerful functionaries if their actions are damaging to the harmony in the state at a time when all are united in fighting COVID-19."
Hailing from Bihar, Mohsin is a 1996 batch IAS officer from Karnataka cadre and is currently serving as a secretary in the Backward Class Welfare Department. He was in the news last year when he, deployed as a poll observer, was suspended for trying to inspect PM Modi's helicopter during his visit to Odisha.