Election commissioner Ashok Lavasa's op-ed 'complete travesty': Sanjiv Chaturvedi

Whistleblower 2002 batch Indian Forest Services Chaturvedi is currently posted as a conservator of forests (research) in Haldwani.

Published: 19th January 2020 10:03 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th January 2020 11:38 PM   |  A+A-

Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa. (File Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

​DEHRADUN: Magsaysay Awardee Civil Servant Sanjiv Chaturvedi has written letter to Ashok Lavasa, election commissioner of India in response to his opinion piece published in various publications calling the article by him a 'Complete Travesty' questioning his conduct in his tenure as secretary of union ministry of forest, environment and climate change regarding former's cadre change from Delhi to Uttarakhand.

Whistleblower 2002 batch Indian Forest Services Chaturvedi is currently posted as a conservator of forests (research) in Haldwani.

Chaturvedi has written 90-page letter to Lavasa through the editor of an English daily in which he has annexed 22 annexures including five court orders and various file notings during the tenure of Lavasa who was Secretary, union ministry of environment, forest and climate change from August 2014 to April 2016. 

In his letter officer stated, "Despite repeated adverse observations of Court regarding unusual delay, non-compliance of pointed Court directions, and passing the orders by usurping the powers of ACC (Appointment Committee for Cabinet), which were subsequently nullified by Court and concealing the relevant precedence, no accountability of any sort was ever fixed as all these acts were committed under political directions."

"In fact, this case is a live testimony of how nexus of politicians and bureaucrats work, as bureaucrats are given perfect immunity by politicians for complying with their illegal orders, in lieu of joint partnership in various corrupt practices."

The officer, raising the issue of his interstate deputation to GNCT (Government of National Capital Territory) Delhi in year 2015-16 he has asked Lavasa to clarify, “As to how your various actions in deliberately and wilfully keeping my above-mentioned case pending and undecided for months making frequent U-turns, wilfully concealing the documents, passing thoroughly illegal orders by usurping the powers of ACC which were immediately nullified by courts as various adverse court observations on your malicious actions/inactions and which resulted in my relentless harassment without any fault fit into overall framework of observations made in your article.” 

In the letter, he mentioned that the court orders of May 2015, October 2015, November 2015, April 2016 and June 2016. 

The order of June 2016 stated that surprisingly enough, the respondents (MoEFCC and its secretary) have not yet complied with the pointed directions, which necessitated the applicant, to file the present application, for time-bound disposal of his case of inter-cadre deputation. 

The letter further quotes the court order which stated, "What cannot possibly be disputed here is that the applicant was compelled to repeatedly approach this Tribunal for redressal of his grievance."

Mentioning the file boring of February 2015, the letter states Lavasa overruled the proposal of MoEFCC officials and instead proposed to take the opinion of DoPT (Department of Personnel Training) first which amount to a violation of rules. 

In October 2015, the court observed, "As noticed above, admittedly no decision has been taken by the respondent No. 2 (Secretary, MoEFCC) till date, despite the expiry of about eight months from submission of the aforesaid proposed”.

The whistleblower officer who was promoted this year to chief conservator of forests further wrote in the letter, "There is absolutely no such record available in public domain of any due hardship on any issue of vital public importance, or any major corruption case of any politician / senior bureaucrat being ever brought in public domain or before any enforcement agency/ courts, during any of your postings, rather the service details reflect a very smooth sailing in which throughout the service most significant positions in centre and state were assigned.” 

Lavasa, a 1980 batch Indian administrative Services officer has held many important positions in central government such as secretary MoEFCC, finance and civil aviation.

Recently financial and real estate transactions of family members of Lavasa were on scanner of enforcement directorate and income tax department which included allegations of stamp duty evasion in gifting of a 1.75 crore Gurugram flat between Lavasa, his wife and his sister, overseas investment from Mauritius of rupees 7.25 crore into a firm in which his son was director, discrepancies in income tax returns of wife of Lavasa from time period of 2015 to 2017. 

Despite being contacted by the reporter, Lavasa was not available for the comment.

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