The cold war between two top bureaucrats in the agriculture department escalated into an ugly public spat on Tuesday, with director Biju Prabhakar and principal secretary Raju Narayana Swamy levelling allegations against each other.

Narayana Swamy has alleged that Prabhakar's IAS is fake, and insisted he has the evidence to prove his claim and that he is ready to release them to the public. He said he has written to the PM's office to cancel Prabhakar's IAS rank and warned that those who conferred IAS on Prabhakar will also be in trouble.

Narayana Swamy also accused Prabhakar of favouritism and flouting norms, citing the posting of the wife of industries minister’s private secretary in the agriculture department.

Prabhakar, on the other hand, claimed that Narayana Swamy has a personal vendetta against him and is trying to frame him in a vigilance case. He has also applied for long leave, stating the principal secretary has lost confidence in him. However, Narayana Swamy has termed it as an "anticipatory bail".

The tiff between the two IAS officers started with a dispute over the expenditure of a class conducted by an Israeli national for farmers. Rs 2 lakh was spent on the expenses of the Israeli man, who arrived in India on a visiting visa. Narayana Swamy alleged that Prabhakar availed the funds without obtaining the prior sanction from the government.

The split in the agriculture department and the infighting between the officials has put the LDF government, which is nearing its first anniversary, under more pressure.