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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

Govt under pressure from Centre to relieve IFS officer

Navneet Sharma, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, June 04, 2012
First Published: 17:53 IST(4/6/2012) | Last Updated: 17:55 IST(4/6/2012)

Pressure is mounting on the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government in Haryana to relieve the whistleblower Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer, Sanjiv Chaturvedi, for a deputation with the central government.

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After a reminder from the union ministry of environment and forests (MOEF), the union health and family welfare ministry has written to the state government to relieve the 2002-batch IFS officer, who had blown the whistle on plantation scams in the state, without further delay for his new assignment at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, pressing the urgency of the matter.

In a letter to chief secretary PK Chaudhery, the health ministry has written that Chaturvedi, who was on offer list for central deputation, was selected for the newly created post of deputy secretary in view of administrative reforms initiated in the institution. The IFS officer could not join his new assignment as he had not been relieved by the state government.

"Of late, the parliamentary sub-committee on AIIMS has also been pressing the government to expedite recruitment of faculty and staff. AIIMS has also undertaken some ambitious projects, including the development of its second campus at Jhajjar in Haryana for expansion of the existing infrastructural facilities," union health secretary PK Pradhan wrote in the letter dated May 31.

While the department of personnel and training (DOPT) had, on May 4, issued the order for his appointment on deputation for a period of four years, the MOEF has written twice since, requesting the state government to relieve him.

However, the top state brass, including forest minister Ajay Singh Yadav, appears to be in no hurry. "There are some pending issues. The matter is to be decided by the CM," Yadav said, refusing to say more on the subject.

The state authorities are said to have dug out details of a case in which a forest official in Jhajjar had committed suicide in 2009 after his name allegedly figured in a plantation scam exposed by the IFS officer. Chaturvedi, who faced a lot of heat ever since he exposed the irregularities, had requested for deputation after his departmental chargesheet was quashed by the Centre on January 19, 2011, on the basis of the findings of a two-member MOEF team, despite strong opposition from the state government.

The inquiry report containing names of state politicians and well-connected bureaucrats had ruffled many feathers in the state.

While the state government also later "withdrew" the chargesheet, it kept his deputation request pending for months and then, while sending it to the Centre, made unprecedented adverse remarks against him.

Chaturvedi was accused of embarrassing the government by painting the forest department as a "den of corruption". Now that he has been picked up by the Centre despite the state government's reluctance to relieve him has become a talking point.

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