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Sacked AIIMS CVO gears up for long fight

Saturday, 23 August 2014 - 7:00am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

Sanjiv Chaturvedi, till the other day Chief Vigilance Officer of AIIMS, had in a letter to the health secretary, ministry of health and family welfare, quoted Narendra Modi's oft-repeated phrase "Na Khaunga, Na Khaane Dungha" to call for a comprehensive CBI probe into the "entire episode" leading to his summary sacking.

"On the one hand, prime minister Modi speaks of a new work culture based on honesty and efficiency, on the other hand right under his nose in New Delhi, in the most prestigious medical institute of the country, corrupt elements have succeeded in achieving what they could not in the past two years," Chaturvedi wrote in the letter, a copy of which dna has, dated August 16, 2014.

Chaturvedi is no stranger to being hounded. The Indian Forest Service officer of the Haryana cadre busted many forest-related scams and made enemies in the highest echelons of power in that state. At least two chargesheets were lodged against him.

The President of India had to intervene, and Chaturvedi moved to the Centre. On July 7, 2012, he was appointed CVO of AIIMS. A Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) letter to the ministry of health and family welfare dated September 3, 2012 questioned his appointment. The letter said CVC approval was not taken, and it sought clarification on whether a "deputy secretary is the appropriate level for appointment of CVO".

In his letter to the secretary, ministry of health, Chaturvedi stated that all statutory requirements for his appointment as CVO were fulfilled, and that the appointment of a deputy secretary as CVO was recommended as per rule 6(2)(C) of AIIMS Rules, 1958. "The Union health secretary had also given specific commitment before the standing parliamentary committee on health and family welfare on June 8, 2012 entrusting the charge of CVO to me," he wrote.

Soon after joining as CVO unearthed several scams in AIIMS involving top officers of the institute. His investigations and recommendations lead to the registration of a CBI case and major penalty proceedings against IAS and IPS officers. Some people lost jobs, others their gratuity and pension.

Recognising his exemplary work as CVO, the president of AIIMS awarded the grade of "outstanding" to Chaturvedi in two consecutive years, 2012-13 and 2013-14, with the citation "Sanjiv Chaturvedi, deputy secretary and CVO AIIMS, New Delhi, is a man of integrity, sincerity and honesty, who is keen on performing his assigned role to the best of his ability and knowledge without fear or favour."

Chaturvedi's zealous pursuit of the corrupt inspired many. So much so, he was invited as guest faculty to address senior IPS officers on anti-corruption strategies. Chaturvedi cites all these to prove that contrary to Dr Harsh Vardhan's claims, he was eminently qualified to be AIIMS CVO.

"If the health ministry has the slightest commitment to the declared objectives of fairness, transparency and zero tolerance for corruption as stated by the prime minister. It should not have have any objection to a comprehensive CBI investigation into the entire episode, spanning the past two years," Chaturvedi has written in the letter, adding the ministry should immediately withdraw its order to divest him of the post of CVO.

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