Unable to bear "victimisation" ever since he blew the lid off plantation scams in the state, Haryana-cadre Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi has proceeded on leave, requesting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to get the irregularities investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Accusing the state authorities of the "worst kind of witch-hunting", the 2002-batch IFS officer, in his letter to the PM on June 9, has said that the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has already recommended a CBI inquiry into the matter.
Having now proceeded on leave due to his "inability to sustain the torture", Chaturvedi, posted as district forest officer (production) at Hisar, is learnt to have reminded the PM of the latter's speech on the occasion of Civil Services Day on April 21 in which the central theme was the need to protect officers from witch-hunting and undue harassment.
"You are also requested to immediately intervene and issue appropriate directions to the government for my relieving for central deputation," says the letter from Chaturvedi, who was selected by the Centre for the post of deputy secretary, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, six weeks ago, but is not being relieved by the state government despite repeated requests from the union health ministry and the environment and forests ministry.
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) had on Thursday directed the union department of personnel and training not to fill the post and not to debar the officer from central deputation until it decides his petition in the matter.
In his letter, Chaturvedi has charged the state authorities with deliberately withholding his relieving with the motive of harassing him further and to implicate him in false police or departmental cases, referring to the recent attempts to reopen a two-and-half-year old police case. "The malice further becomes clear from the fact that, in past five years, the state government relieved all the 11 IFS officers selected for central deputation without any hitch.
Because of the continuous victimisation, my personal life has been devastated," he has written. When contacted, Chaturvedi refused to comment. Efforts were made to the contact the chief minister's principal secretary Chhatar Singh, but he was not available. Principal secretary (forests) Manik B Sonawane also refused to comment on the matter.Chaturvedi, who won the Manjunath Shanmugham Integrity Award in 2009 for performing his duty honestly, had to face 12 transfer orders in the past five years, suspension and a department chargesheet after he unearthed irregularities in plantations under various centrally sponsored schemes.
When he submitted a petition against his harassment to the President, the Centre intervened and quashed the chargesheet in January 2011 on the basis of findings of an inquiry conducted by a two-member team of the union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF). The state government objected to the findings, but "withdrew" the chargesheet.