New Delhi: Days, after the Central government sanctioned CBI to prosecute former NITI Aayog CEO Sindhushree Khullar and others in the INX Media case, over 71 retired bureaucrats on Friday, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and expressed concern over the prosecution of four former officials of the Finance Ministry. The former officers said in the letter that such action might discourage the diligent and honest officers from taking important decisions in the time to come.

The letter was signed by retired civil servants like former cabinet secretary K M Chandrasekhar, former foreign secretary and national security advisor Shivshankar Menon, former foreign secretary Sujatha Singh and former DGP of Punjab Julio Riberio.

Demanding that a reasonable period of time should be there after which the files should not be reopened, the retired officers in the letter expressed concern over selective targeting of retired officers to gain political advantage.

The development comes after the Central government on September 30 issued a sanction to the CBI to prosecute former NITI Aayog CEO Sindhushree Kullar and others in connection with the INX Media case.

Apart from Khullar, the government also sanctioned the CBI to prosecute former secretary of the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Anup K Pujari, the then director in the Finance Ministry Prabodh Saxena, and former undersecretary in the Department of Economic Affairs Rabindra Prasad.

The development comes after the arrest of former Finance Minister P Chidambaram for whom the CB had got the prosecution sanction from the government.

Slamming the government for making officers bear the brunt of criminal proceedings of some leaders for political reasons, the former officials said this will only seem to confirm the worst apprehensions of civil servants that they will get no protection for bona fide acts in the performance of their official duties.

“Serving officials will naturally be demotivated if diligent and honest officers are selectively targeted for punishment for no fault of theirs other than that they were implementing the policy decisions of the government of the day,” the letter added.

“It will not be surprising if civil servants procrastinate before processing and examining every proposal of importance, as they have no guarantee that they would not be implicated in criminal proceedings many years later,” the letter further stated.

Meanwhile, in another development, the Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to the CBI asking to respond to Chidambaram’s bail plea in connection with the INX Media Case.

A Supreme Court bench of justices R Banumathi and Hrishikesh Roy has fixed October 15 as the next date for the hearing. At the same time, the CBI has said that it will respond to the bail plea within the time frame.

The former Union Minister was supposed to be released on October 3 but his bail plea was rejected by Delhi court. On Thursday, Chidambaram had moved the apex court for an urgent hearing of a plea and a regular bail.

(With inputs from PTI)