The BJP government in Haryana is struggling to file an affidavit before the Punjab and Haryana high court to articulate its views on the purchase of Raxil fungicide by the previous Congress regime.
An NGO, Bhiwani Sudhar and Vikas Samiti, had petitioned the high court seeking directions for a probe by an independent agency in fungicide purchase, allegedly in violation of the Insecticides Act. The case is scheduled to come up for hearing on May 7 (Thursday).
While Haryana advocate general, Baldev Raj Mahajan who appeared along with additional advocate general, Amar Vivek, had on March 17 sought adjournment for placing on record an affidavit stating the views of the new government on the issues raised in the petition, the state government has not been able to prepare the affidavit.
The law officers representing the state are likely to seek an adjournment and more time for filing the affidavit.“We are trying to resolve some issues before filing the affidavit,” said an official with the AG office.
With state agriculture minister Om Prakash Dhankar recommending a probe by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) into the Raxil purchase, the agriculture department which has to file an affidavit is in a bind.
“The CVC Act and the guidelines regarding the complaint-handling policy clearly say that CVC has jurisdiction over All-India Service officers (IAS, IPS) serving with the Central government and has no jurisdiction over state government organisations,’’ said an official.
In fact, the agriculture department has even proposed that the opinion of the law secretary be taken on the issue of CVC jurisdiction. The agriculture minister on the other hand took the argument that the Raxil fungicide matter involved funds under the central scheme and the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture recommended necessary action in the matter.
The predicament before the agriculture department officials is that they have clearly written on the file that CVC does not have jurisdiction in the matter and on the other hand they are supposed to file an affidavit in support of the recommendation of the agriculture minister to get a CVC probe done.
Officials have written on the file that in the absence of any categoric in-house findings, no case is made out for referring the matter to the CVC.
“ No prima facie case has been made out against any official; no material is available on record on the basis of which it can be said that other alternatives of cheaper or better quality are available in market etc,’’ says the file noting.