Almost three months after it took the decision, the Haryana government on July 24 finally referred the matter pertaining to alleged irregularities in the purchase of Raxil fungicide by the previous Congress regime to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) for a probe, but without citing any justification or grounds for doing so.
Neither the July 24 communication sent by special secretary, agriculture, to chief vigilance commissioner, CVC nor the file notings annexed with it mention any justification or grounds for a CVC probe into the fungicide purchase. Haryana chief secretary Deepinder Singh Dhesi had also asked the state agriculture department on July 9 to spell out the reasons for making a reference to CVC for initiating a probe into alleged irregularities in fungicide purchase.
Even though the CVC Act clearly says that the commission has no jurisdiction over the state government organisations and can probe the matter involving IAS and IPS officers serving with the central government, Haryana agriculture minister OP Dhankar had in April recommended a CVC probe into the purchase, taking the argument that it involved central funds and Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture recommended necessary action in the matter.
LEGAL OPINION NOT TAKEN
Since there were inconsistencies in the views of the agriculture department and the minister, it was also suggested by the department that advice of the legal remembrancer or advocate general may be obtained regarding the jurisdiction of the CVC in the matter and as to whether the approval of the Punjab and Haryana High Court was required before referring the matter to the CVC as it was sub-judice.
The communication sent to CVC reads: "State government had taken a decision for 100% treatment of certified wheat seed with Raxil 2 DS for rabi 2010-11 on the professional recommendation of Haryana Agricultural University. The programme for 100% treatment of certified wheat seed is still continuing in the state. A case regarding this is sub-judice in the High Court and a petition having similar issues regarding treatment of wheat seed was dismissed in 2011 by the High Court. You are requested to conduct an inquiry into the matter as per the decision of the state government and CVC Act.''
'NO CASE MADE OUT FOR CVC PROBE'
The file noting appended with the communication also nowhere mentions reasons or grounds for making a reference to CVC. On the contrary, the noting says that no case is made out to refer the matter to the CVC.
"The decision for wheat seed treatment with Raxil was taken at the highest level and no irregularities have been committed in the implementation of the seed treatment programme. The decision was to use Raxil for treatment of certified wheat seed and not for treating any particular disease of wheat crop… As per the Act, the CVC has no jurisdiction to inquire into the case.
The matter is sub-judice in the High Court and referring it to CVC without the prior approval of the court may amount to contempt of court..,'' reads the file noting by additional director, agriculture department. The observations on the file were not overruled, rejected or disproved by any senior official of the department while sending the reference to the CVC.