President Pranab Mukherjee quashes charge-sheet against Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer Sanjeev Chaturvedi. Haryana government had accused Chaturvedi of inefficiency on the ground of surrendering the budget meant for plantation and poor plant survival rate.
The order issued by the environment ministry on behalf of the President says that the inquiry against the 2002 batch officer Chaturvedi stands revoked with immediate effect. Directions have been issued to Haryana government to take necessary action in this regard.
President Mukherjee found the charges of inefficiency leveled against Chaturvedi were “unsustainable” and the charge-sheet “deserves to be revoked”. Even a police case was registered against him in Jhajjar, which was later cancelled on account of the investigating officer’s report.
Chaturvedi on the other hand alleged political victimisation for exposing plantation scam in Jhajjar and private persons benefitting from public money given for developing herbal-park. He also accused a top state political functionary to be have benefitted from the scam.
Although the environment ministry had defended Chaturvedi since beginning, the Haryana government refused to heed the Central line and instituted inquiry against him. In March 2013, the Haryana government constituted an inquiry committee under R K Singh, chief conservator of forest to look into allegations against Chaturvedi. The committee recommended a major penalty against Chaturvedi which includes termination of service.
The IFS officer, who is presently posted in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), submitted a representation to the President against the charge-sheet terming it politically motivated. He also submitted documents obtained under RTI to allege that inquiry was constituted on behest of chief minister Bupinder Hooda’s office.
On Thursday, the ministry issued the order on behalf of the President to quash the charge-sheet after it found it would be difficult to provide the charges. The ministry is cadre controlling authority for IFS officers.