The watchdog might be overlooking rules to shield a tainted IAS officer and former deputy director of AIIMS.
Pankaj Kumar | January 10, 2015 | New Delhi
Is the central vigilance commission (CVC) and the health ministry trying to save Vineet Chaudhary, a former deputy director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) against whom several charges of corruption are pending?
Governance Now has access to documents proving that the CVC has indeed deviated from its own rules in taking action against Chaudhary in at least two cases.
There are two charge sheets detailing alleged corrupt activities of the IAS officer during his tenure at the AIIMS on deputation under the health ministry. The charge sheets, separately approved by former health ministers Gulam Nabi Azad (Congress) and Dr Harsh Vardhan (BJP), are now being reviewed by a joint-secretary level officer. “This is a clear violation of the rules of its (CVC’s) own manual and DoPT rules, and all this is being done to save a tainted officer because he enjoys great clout in the power corridors,” said a senior officer in the ministry, who asked not to be named.
As per procedures, the draft charge sheet against any all-India service officer is sent to the concerned ministry for the approval of the minister in-charge to press charges against the officer, before sending it to the CVC for “first-stage” advice. The CVC, in its turn, examines the issue and sends it back to the cadre-controlling authority of the officer concerned through the original generator of the charge sheet (CVO, AIIMS), with an advisory note on further action.
In the case of Chaudhary, the CVC, instead of tendering its first-stage advice to AIIMS or DoPT, referred the cases to the chief vigilance officer (CVO) of the health ministry in September 2014 and November 2014, with vague directions.
“The CVC’s act looks malafide because it follows different yardsticks for different persons in similar cases of corruption. Also, how come an officer of joint-secretary level (CVO of health ministry) review or examine the charge sheets approved by the health minister?” asked another officer on condition of anonymity.
Interestingly, in the first case of financial irregularities in purchase of livery items the CVC gave the first-stage advice for initiation of major penalty proceedings against VV Mishra, a Group A officer on central deputation to the AIIMS, whereas in the same case, the charge sheet against Choudhary and Shailesh Yadav, IPS, was referred to the health ministry without first stage advice.
However, in another case related to corruption in dealing with contract to private security agency where Yadav alone was charge-sheeted, the CVC in May 2014 recommended major penalty proceedings against him to the home ministry, the cadre-controlling ministry of IPS officers.
Chaudhary, a 1982-cadre officer is due for promotion to secretary level, which, will be denied even if he were to face corruption charges. A former director of AIIMS concurred. “Chaudhary enjoys great clout and that’s why CVO (of AIIMS) Sanjiv Chaturvedi paid the price for initiating the enquiry against him. The whole idea is to subvert the departmental action initiated against him so he can be brought back in the health ministry.”
Present health minister JP Nadda has earlier been accused of shielding Chaudhary – who was his secretary when he was the Himachal Pradesh health minister in the Prem Kumar Dhumal government – and being the “main force” behind the removal of Chaturvedi as CVO in August.
Similar illegality has been found on part of the CVC in the case of Dr AC Amini the then HOD, endocrinology. Both CBI and MCI had recommended major penalty proceedings on account of Amini accepting favour from a private medical college and for submitting fake taxi rental bills, but the CVC changed the recommendation of the CVO for major penalty into minor penalty, which resulted in her exoneration.
Charges against Vineet Chaudhary
In the first charge sheet three officers, VV Mishra, Shailesh Yadav and Vineet Choudhary, were found guilty of procuring Rs 1.5 crore worth of uniforms for employees without an open tender and favouring a supplier.
The second charge sheet has seven charges against Vineet Choudhary, including irregularities in appointment of consultants, construction works and treatment of his pet dog Simpa at AIIMS. Senior medical physicist (dept of radiotherapy) was later pressured by Choudhary to withdraw the communication later regarding treatment of dog Simpa.
Full charge sheet
1-The first charge sheet unearthed the alleged corruption in procurement of uniform for employees without following the prescribed rules and bought the uniform of 1.5 crores from a supplier without open tender… The gross violation of the rule of law was unearthed and one supplier was favoured for ulterior motives. In first charge sheet three officers were allegedly found guilty in procurement of uniforms and they were - V V Mishra, Shailesh Yadav(IPS) and Vineet Choudhary (IAS). CVC approved major penalty in case of V V Mishra but in case of other two, charge sheets were sent back to CVO Health ministry though it should have been sent to cadre controlling authority through original generator of charge sheet (CVO AIIMS) to ministry of home in case of Shailesh Yadav and to DOPT in case of Vineet Choudhary.
2- Second charge sheet against Vineet Choudhary (IAS) includes irregularities in appointment of consultants, irregularity in construction of works and treatment of pet dog at AIIMS. There are total seven charges framed against Vineet Choudhary in second charge sheet
Charge number 1: Illegal extension to a superintending engineer in Rs 3750 crore extension project. Nexus beyond official business as they bought three piece of land together in the name of family members.
(A) As per charge sheet illegal extension given to a superintending engineer B S Anand beyond the date of his superannuation. President AIIMS (health minister) was misled on account of giving extension to the superintending engineer as he was asked to grant extension, though in case of Group ‘A’ officers like superintending engineer, the governing body is the appointing authority as per AIIMS regulation 1999.
(B) Rs.3750 crore expansion project of AIIMS required a superintending engineer and other engineers fulfilled the eligibility criteria on the said post but then deputy director manipulated the extension of B S Anand by misleading the then president AIIMS (health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad)
(C) B S Anand purchased a piece of land on 16-04-12 near extension project of AIIMS in the name of his wife and incomplete information was communicated to Vineet Choudhary instead of head of the Institute as per laid down procedure without disclosing the source of income. Around the same time two plots were purchased in the name of family members of Vineet Choudhary. This further proves the ulterior motives and gross misconduct by then deputy director administration AIIMS.
Charge number 2- Gross irregularities in appointment of consultants, which never ever happened in AIIMS.
(A) Concerned persons were appointed as consultants without fulfilling the statutory requirement as per section 6(2)(c) of AIIMS rules ,1958 for taking prior approval of SFC (standing Finance committee) in view of creation of new posts.
(B) Chosen ones were appointed as consultant directly without fulfilling GFR as per the procedural requirements
(C) All of these consultants were found drawing huge remuneration without any palpable output, they were known to Vineet Choudhary as they were either from the state cadre of Vineet Choudhary or the health ministry where he previously worked.
(D) Records prove that neither before him nor after his transfer from the AIIMS, any consultant was engaged by any Deputy Director (Administration ) AIIMS.
Charge number 3: Vineet Choudhary renovated his office by spending Rs 19.26 lakhs in 2011.
(A) Huge wastage of state exchequer as spent Rs 19.26 lakhs for his office decoration.
(B) Gave Rs one lakh for consultancy for interior decoration to his office.
(C) Misled president AIIMS (health minister) by misquoting the expenses. Vineet Choudhary quoted Rs 5 lakhs only in place of Rs 19.26 lakhs which were later proved by records.
Charge number 4: Misused official vehicle as travelled 144 kms daily on an average for two years.
(A) Residence and office of Vineet Choudhary was in same campus in AIIMS. Distance of the ministry from office or residence is hardly 16 kilometers where few times in a month required to visit.
(B) Vehicle was shown to be used whole day/month without any break and even on the festival days and gazetted holidays.
(C)Fake entries in log book as admitted by his PA on the instruction of Vineet Choudhary.
Charge number 5: Got his pet dog Simpa treated (Radiation) in AIIMS on holiday where general patients wait for months and years.
(A) Senior medical physicist (dept of radiotherapy) was later pressurized by Vineet Choudhary to withdraw the communication later regarding the treatment of dog Simpa.
(B) Senior parliamentarian Sharad Yadav raised the issue regarding his misuse of power for his personal ends
Charge number 6: Instrumental in making the file no f.9-40/2010-estt (Rct) missing on the subject of appointment of CVO AIIMS.
(A)FIR lodged in nearby police station and memorandum issued to him and final reminder sent to him on June 24, 2013.
Charge number 7: Misled president AIIMS (Health Minister) for his own vested interests.
(A) Spent Rs 19.26 lakhs as per the records in renovation of his office but quoted Rs 5 lakhs only to health minister after being asked by senior parliamentarian Sharad Yadav.
(B) Got his pet dog treated in AIIMS as it was admitted by his driver and senior physicist (radiation) but Vineet Choudhary misled the president by denying the truth and same denial was forwarded to senior parliamentarian Sharad Yadav.
(C) In case of extension given to superintending engineer B S Anand in extension project of AIIMS of Rs 3750 crore , AIIMS president who happens to be the health minister was misled by Vineet Choudhary as competent authority as per schedule 2 of AIIMS 1999, governing body is the appointing authority for group A officers but he advised president AIIMS that president AIIMS is the authority .
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