Seed anomalies: whistleblower shunted

In a case of a whistleblower coming to grief for daring to harm vested interests, Rajan Shukla, an IAS officer, was shunted out as secretary, horticulture and given an insignificant assignment hours after he issued an order canceling the horticulture directorate’s controversial seed procurement decision on Monday.

It was at Shukla’s instance that chief secretary Jawed Usmani had ordered a threemember panel to inquire into the complaints about the directorate officials having decided to procure seeds worth over Rs. 20 crore at higher rates from certain companies in violation of the laid down procedure.

The probe panel headed by principal secretary Rajiv Kapoor found the charges true.

Acting on the report, Rajan Shukla, then secretary, horticulture, issued directives, cancelling the horticulture directorate’s August 1 seed procurement order and asking director ON Singh to submit a fresh proposal to the government for the purchase of fruit and vegetable seeds.

Curiously, Shukla was handed over his transfer orders within a few hours of acting on the probe report.

Sources alleged the minister in charge of the department and the director were close relatives and this, they claimed, was the reason for the ouster of Shukla.


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