CIC asks IB & Environment Ministry to share reports on harassed officer, Sanjiv Chaturvedi, with him
The CIC order describes in detail the phenomenal harassment faced by Chaturvedi from the Haryana government for just doing his job including implementing Supreme Court order and stopping the use of public funds to create private assets
The Central Information Commission (CIC) has asked Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to submit a copy of a report on Sanjiv Chaturvedi with him. "The Commission approves that the copy of the IB report concerning the appellant, as sought by him is the information pertaining to allegations of corruption and human rights violations and thus shall be given to the appellant. Hence the Commission directs the IB or MoEF to provide certified copy of IB report relating to Mr Sanjiv Chaturvedi, sought through RTI dated 5 December 2015 as soon as possible not beyond 6 May 2016. The Commission would like to bring it to the notice of two public authorities that the petitioner has every right under RTI Act to complain and the Commission has a duty to initiate penal proceedings against non-compliance of this order," Information Commissioner M Sridhar Acharyulu, said in an order issued on 21 April 2016.
The order notes the ordeals that the IFS officer has to go through. It says, "...this may be the first instance in the administrative history of the country, when a State Government suspended and charge-sheeted an officer for the implementation of the orders of the Supreme Court; even when the officer represented against the illegal warning in this case, his submitting the representation was itself considered as a misconduct by the State Government and was inserted as a charge in the charge-sheet; the open use of public funds to create private assets on the private land of politically influential persons; preparing a highly fabricated, illegal charge-sheet by a state government against its own official, in which, even the compliance report of the officer was concealed to create the charge of insubordination."
"During his five year tenure in the state, the officer was kept without any cadre posting for two and a half years and served 11 posting orders, routinely after exposing scams, while no action seems to have ever been taken against the officers involved in the various scams which include the case of Jhajjar Forest Division, where out of 37 beats of the whole division, fake payments were detected in 26 beats, but even then no action was taken by the State Government against the concerned DFO responsible for these irregularities. The mere allegations of a forest encroacher were thought to be enough by the State Government to charge-sheet the officer under major penalty, and the charge still not being removed despite exoneration by State Vigilance Bureau and departmental inquiry, more than two years back; even the personal life of the officer was dragged, into the said charge-sheet despite the charges being quashed by High Court," it added.
In his second appeal, Mr Chaturvedi submitted before the CIC that he needs a copy of IB report, which was sent to Cabinet Secretary and the Ministry of Environment and Forests in August, 2014, on the issue of foisting false cases against him in retaliation against his investigation and reports against major corruption in Haryana.
The IFS officer told the CIC that he urgently needs the copy of the IB report, because the harassment meted out to him is directly linked to his exposure of corruption both in Haryana Government and AIIMS, and the IB report would become very crucial in ascertaining the reality.
Alleging that he was being harassed by the Haryana government, Mr Chaturvedi in 2010 had requested a Central Government deputation. He complained of harassment to the then President Pratibha Patil, who referred his case to the Cabinet Secretariat. Acting on the directions of the Cabinet Secretariat, the MoEF in 2010, constituted a two-member panel to study the accusations. The Ministry's in-house inquiry found merit in Mr Chaturvedi's allegations, and referred the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), whose preliminary analysis found the allegations worthy of investigation. The MoEF then referred the case to Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), and recommended a CBI investigation. The Ministry also confirmed the harassment of the IFS officer and recommended quashing of cases against him. On 19 January 2011, the President quashed the chargesheet against him.
The Haryana government rejected the Ministry's findings, and asked it to take a fresh look at the case. However, this demand was rejected by the ministry. The Haryana Government refused to relieve Chaturvedi for Central deputation, but in May 2012, an order from the Ministry overruled the Haryana Government. Between years 2008 to 2014, the President passed four orders in support of Mr Chaturvedi, quashing the Haryana Government's orders.
Mr Chaturvedi was also hounded by the state government in a case related with suicide by Sanjeev Tomar, a Haryana forest range officer. Multiple special investigation teams (SIT) formed to probe the case gave a clean chit to Chaturvedi. However, in February 2015, the Punjab and Haryana High Court recommended formation of a new SIT to probe the allegations that Sanjeev Tomar had committed suicide due to harassment by Mr Chaturvedi. His counsel stated that constituting a fresh SIT would amount to hounding the officer who had exposed several scams. In April 2015, the Court accepted the petition, and recalled its earlier order. The Court also dismissed the writ petition of Rampal Singh, father of Sanjeev Tomar.
On 29 June 2012, Mr Chaturvedi was made the Deputy Secretary of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi. He was also given the additional charge of Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) at AIIMS. As a CVO, Chaturvedi took action against the doctors who were making unauthorized foreign trips. During his tenure, the police seized banned drugs worth Rs6 crore from a vehicle supplying drugs to an on-campus pharmacy owned by a Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Congress party.
Mr Chaturvedi initiated actions in around 200 corruption cases during his stint as AIIMS CVO where punishment was imposed in 78 cases, chargesheet was issued in 87 cases and more than 20 cases were referred to CBI for criminal investigation. In 2014, after the Modi government came to power, Chaturvedi was relieved from the additional charge of CVO, although he continued to retain the Deputy Director post at AIIMS.
In 2015, the media reported that Aam Admi Party (AAP) was planning to appoint Mr Chaturvedi as the chief of Delhi anti-corruption bureau. On 17 February 2015, and again on 28 February 2015, Delhi's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal wrote to Cabinet Minister Prakash Javdekar, asking for deputation of Mr Chaturvedi to Delhi, as an Officer on Special Duty.
Citing extreme hardship including frequent transfers, suspension and false police and departmental cases, in October 2012, Mr Chaturvedi sought cadre change to Uttarakhand from Haryana. Finally, on 13 August 2015, the Appointment Committee of Cabinet (ACC) headed by the Prime Minister approved the cadre change in compliance with the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) orders.
Over the years, Mr Chaturvedi had received several awards including Ramon Magsaysay Award for emergent leadership (2015), Manjunath Shanmugam Integrity Award (2009) for his work in Haryana, SR Jindal Prize in 2011 for 'Crusade against Corruption'. After completion of training at Dehradun-based Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy, in August 2005, Mr Chaturvedi received two medals in “People and Forest” and “Biodiversity and Wildlife Management”, from the then President of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.
Here is the order passed by the CIC…