Thursday, December 30, 2010

Make Haryana chief minister pay for persecuting honest official

Sanjiv Chaturvedi, an honest forest service official, was victimised by the Haryana government for his ‘crimes’ of bringing to light a huge scam in which senior functionaries had been involved and of effectively implementing the Supreme Court’s orders to save a wildlife sanctuary from being wiped out. Despite his case receiving sympathetic attention from no less than the prime minister’s office, Union ministry of environment and forests, cabinet secretariat and the Central Administrative Tribunal, for years he has remained at the receiving end of the punishing might of the state government. In the last five years, all in the chief ministership of B.S. Huda, he was transferred repeatedly, denied promotion, suspended and even charge sheeted for an offence he never committed. In a fact finding report, two senior officials of the Union ministry of environment and forests have placed the blame for harassing and tormenting Chaturvedi at the doors of the state forest minister Kiran Chaudhary and some top officials in the finance and forest departments and in the chief minister’s own office.

The most shocking aspect of this most sordid incident is that the prime minister’s office miserably failed to come to any real help to the persecuted official, whose only crime was that he chose to perform his duty conscientiously. It can now make amends by instructing the state government to put under suspension all officials who had harassed Chaturvedi and try them under the Prevention of Corruption Act and also for entering into criminal conspiracy to destroy a wildlife sanctuary and for preventing a government official from carrying out his duty. The prime minister should get the Haryana chief minister to remove forthwith Chaudhary from his cabinet, he should also warn Huda that a repeat of an incident of this type would mean his own dismissal as the chief minister. And of course, all cooked up disciplinary proceedings against Sanjiv Chaturvedi ought to be withdrawn immediately, he be promoted with retrospective effect and also rewarded by the prime minister himself for upholding the best traditions, now mostly forgotten, of civil services even in the face of crudest and vilest opposition from his seniors.

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