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Whistleblower IFS officer Chaturvedi blows lid off resin scam in Champawat

Whistleblower IFS officer Sanjeev Chaturvedi has uncovered a scam worth over Rs 5.63 crore in collection and management of resin in Champawat forest division, and submitted a report on the irregularities to the principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF) in December last year.

dehradun Updated: Jan 16, 2018 21:30 IST
Nihi Sharma
Nihi Sharma
Hindustan Times
Uttarakhand news,Resin scam,Whistleblower IFS officer
The Uttarakhand forest department sanctions budget to the divisions for the upkeep of resin. IFS officer Sanjeev Chaturvedi’s report has pointed out discrepancies in Champawat in fund utilisation in the last eight years.(HT Photo)

Whistleblower IFS officer Sanjeev Chaturvedi has uncovered a scam worth over Rs 5.63 crore in collection and management of resin in Champawat forest division, and submitted a report on the irregularities to the principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF) in December last year.

Resin is a thick, sticky substance produced by some trees. It is used in varnishes, adhesives, and as raw materials for incense and perfume.

On October 18 last year, HT reported that Chaturvedi -- a 2002-batch officer known for run-ins with former bosses over his stand against corruption – submitted a report as to how former Champawat divisional forest officer (DFO) AK Gupta granted illegal permits to fell pine trees. The present report to the PCCF has highlighted fund anomalies.

The state forest department sanctions budget to the divisions for the upkeep of resin. Chaturvedi’s report has pointed out discrepancies in Champawat in fund utilisation in the last eight years -- since the financial year 2009-10.

In all the listed cases mentioned in the report, the then DFO made cash payments to agencies violating the government rule that requires payments through cheques or e-transactions. Chaturvedi demanded that the case be handed over to the vigilance department and action taken against Gupta, who is now attached with the headquarters.

“Through the report, I have recommended a vigilance inquiry, so that the high-level corruption could be dealt with,” said Chaturvedi, a Ramon Magsaysay Award winner.

The officer joined Uttarakhand cadre in 2016. He had exposed corrupt practices during his previous tenure with the Haryana government and later as the chief vigilance officer at Delhi’s AIIMS.

Chaturvedi’s report said damaged saplings worth Rs 25 lakh were shown on official documents, but their traces were not found in the nursery managed by the DFO. According to the report, the carelessness of the officer on upkeep of the saplings resulted in a major financial damage to the government. Each sapling was purchased at Rs 7.

Gupta had earlier given illegal permits to chop down over 6000 quintal of pine trees. Pine tree felling is banned in areas located above 1,000 metre area in the state. Only Uttarakhand Forest Development Corporation (UFDC) could take up cutting of the trees.

On contacting Gupta for his comments, his wife picked the phone and denied any communication on the report.

First Published: Jan 16, 2018 21:30 IST