Why Sanjiv Chaturvedi was shown the door

The chief vigilance officer was unearthing one scam after another at AIIMS

pankaj

Pankaj Kumar | August 21, 2014 | New Delhi


Health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan`s order does not mention why Sanjiv Chaturvedi was being shown the door.

Sanjiv Chaturvedi, the Indian Forest Service officer from Haryana, has been relieved from his duties as the chief vigilance officer of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). And here is why: he was bringing one scam after another to light.

Thanks to Chaturvedi’s efforts, a CBI case was registered against Vineet Choudhary, a Himachal cadre IAS officer who served as deputy director (admin) at the AIIMS, on January 9, 2014 for financial irregularities to the tune of Rs 3,750 crore in a campus expansion project.

BS Anand, a superintendent engineer who was given extensions in service despite blatant violations in his duty of supervising the expansion project, had to finally go in March 2013, thanks to Chaturvedi.

Shailesh Yadav, an IPS officer who too once served as deputy director (admin), also faces a CBI case for his alleged role in a multi-crore scam in giving tenders to a security agency. Chaturvedi had slapped a large penalty on Yadav, currently police commissioner of Trichi, in 2014.

Chaturvedi had also acted against Ashok Ahuja, a former Congress MLA, for selling fake medicines from a shop inside the AIIMS campus, closing down his shop as well as forfeiting the Rs 50 lakh deposit.

The whistleblower officer also suspended Rajeev Lochan, a deputy security officer who now faces a CBI enquiry for financial irregularities, and launched penalty proceedings against several AIIMS officers including RC Anand, Attar Singh, Basanti Dalal.

Chaturvedi had imposed penalty on AC Ammini, head of the endocrinology department, after the CBI recommended the measure because she had accepted boarding, lodging and hospitality from a private college to which she had gone on inspection for the Medical Council of India (MCI). She, however, was let off by health minister Harsh Vardhan.

The officer, who was appointed July 2012 after facing troubles from the Haryana government, had ruffled so many feathers in his new job that JP Nadda, now general secretary of BJP, had written a strong letter against his appointment as CVO AIIMS on May 8, 2013.

Controversy over appointment

Chaturvedi was removed from the post following an order dated August 16 signed by the health minister, which says that the function of CVO AIIMS is handed over to the joint secretary and CVO of the health ministry for the period of three months. The order, however, does not mention why Chaturvedi was being shown the door.

Why? Harsh Vardhan on Thursday told the media, “One should not make much hue and cry because the appointment of Sanjiv Chaturvedi was not legal. It was not approved by CVC, so he was not fit to serve as CVO AIIMS.”

That is surprising, because in a file noting dated May 23 the health ministry had noted, “AIIMS is a fully autonomous institution created by an act of parliament. There are no full-time CVOs in any other AIIMS/PGI under the ministry. All the statutory requirements in the creation and appointment to the post of chief vigilance officer have already been completed and therefore the matter should be closed here itself.”

The note also says that Chaturvedi’s work has been exemplary and he is known for absolute integrity. In the file noting, joint secretary Vishwas Mehta and secretary Luv Verma have applauded Chaturvedi for exposing corruption.

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