Haryana chief secretary DS Dhesi has asked the state agriculture department to spell out the reasons for making a reference to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) for initiating a probe into alleged irregularities in the purchase of Raxil fungicide during the Congress rule.
Even though the CVC Act clearly says that the commission has no jurisdiction over the state government organisations and can probe matter involving IAS and IPS officers serving with the central government, state agriculture minister OP Dhankar had in April recommended a CVC probe into the purchase, taking the argument that the matter involved central funds and the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture recommended necessary action in the matter.
CS ASKS FOR DETAILS, DOCUMENTS
Subsequently, the agriculture department sent the matter to the chief secretary for referring the matter to the CVC. “If a reference has to be made to the CVC as per the decision taken by the agriculture department, it would be proper to ask the department to send a letter addressed to the CVC containing details of matter involved and the reasons for reference to the CVC along with documents to be supplied for action,’’ says the chief secretary’s communication.
AGRI OFFICIALS IN DILEMMA
The development is important as the government failed to file an affidavit before the Punjab and Haryana high court on May 7 to express its views on alleged irregularities in the Raxil purchase. Haryana advocate general, BR Mahajan on March 17 sought adjournment of the case filed by an NGO, Bhiwani Sudhar and Vikas Samiti, for placing on record an affidavit stating the views of the new government on the issues raised in the petition.
However, the government was not able to prepare the affidavit due to divergence of views. Agriculture officials wrote on the file that CVC does not have jurisdiction in the matter. “ No prima facie case has been made out against any official; no material is available on record on the basis of which it can be said that other alternatives of cheaper or better quality fungicides are available in market etc,’’ says the department file notings.
In a related development, the Haryana Seeds Development Corporation (HSDC), which purchased the fungicide, on Monday filed a civil miscellaneous (CM) application in the high court, contending that NGO petitioner Bhiwani Sudhar and Vikas Samiti has misled the court.
Drawing the court’s attention to a September 2014 quotation annexed by the NGO petitioner in a CM application of May 7, the HSDC said quotation by HPM Chemicals said the company has a valid registration certificate for Tebuconazole 2% DS in 40 gram packing duly approved by the CIBRC.
The HSDC said that it learnt during the fresh tendering that CIBRC permitted HPM for packing Tebuconazole 2% DS in 40 grams only on July 1, 2015. Thus, the company was not legally permitted to manufacture or sell it before July 1, the HSDC application said.
HPM officials did not reply to emails and text messages sent in this regard. Managing director, HPM, Nikhil Aggarwal, told HT that DGM OP Rohilla would reply. Rohilla too expressed his inability to reply saying he was out of town.