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Union health minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday said Sanjiv Chaturvedi was removed as the chief vigilance officer (CVO) at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) because he was not eligible for the post.
"He was not at all eligible for the post that he was holding at AIIMS. We were informed that without the approval of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), nobody can be assigned the post of CVO anywhere. This was brought to our notice and taking cognizance of the same, we removed him from the post," Vardhan told reporters at AIIMS, when asked about the sudden removal of Chaturvedi.
Chaturvedi's four-year tenure was to end in June 2016, but he got his marching orders on Wedneday.
A Haryana cadre forest service officer of 2002 batch, Chaturvedi blew the whistle on several acts of corruption against the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government in Haryana and AIIMS.
Vishwas Mehta, joint secretary and CVO of union health ministry, has been given charge as AIIMS' CVO for three months.
What Vardhan says contradicts the ministry's position taken as recently as May 23, 2014.
An internal file noting by Vishwas Mehta says autonomous body and does not need any approval from the CVC.
He noted in a file on May 23, 2014: "AIIMS is a fully autonomous institution created by an Act of Parliament. There are no full time CVOs in any other AIIMS/PGI under the ministry. All the statutory requirements in the creation and appointment to the post of Chief Vigilance Officer have already been completed and therefore the matter should be closed itself."