Uttar Pradesh Governor TV Rajeshwar has questioned Chief Minister Mayawati's recommendation to appoint a controversial bureaucrat, who had been charged with corruption in 2000, as chief information commissioner (CIC) of the state, officials in Lucknow said.
Sources in Raj Bhavan said the governor blocked the appointment of Ram Kumar, who had been "compulsorily retired" in 2000 and then reinstated, not just because of his track record but also because of procedural lapses. The governor has returned the recommendation and asked the chief minister to review it.
Under the Right to Information Act, the selection committee to pick a CIC must comprise the chief minister, the leader of the opposition and a cabinet minister picked by the chief minister. However, in this case Uttar Pradesh's Leader of Opposition Mulayam Singh Yadav was apparently not present when the decision was taken.
Ram Kumar, an officer of the 1976 batch of the elite Indian Administrative Service (IAS), had retired last year.
He is considered close to Mayawati, who started her current innings as chief minister by keeping tainted officials at bay.
In 2000, he was charged with indulging in corrupt practices and amassing wealth disproportionate to his known and legitimate sources of income and "compulsorily retired" by then Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government led by Ram Prakash Gupta. However, he was reinstated by an order of the central administrative tribunal.
"Well, the proceedings initiated against me by the state government were stayed by the administrative tribunal as the government could not substantiate any charge against me," Kumar said.
Last year, while he was principal secretary, social welfare, he was accused of violating the Right to Information Act when he refused information sought by the information commission.