Kejriwal Urges Modi to Reconsider Whistleblower Officer’s Deputation to Delhi

Following the prime minister’s rejection of his long-standing plea, Kejriwal is insisting Sanjiv Chaturvedi’s deputation as ‘officer on special duty’ will be in the larger public interest.

Sanjiv Chaturvedi. Credit: PTI

Sanjiv Chaturvedi. Credit: PTI

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding that the inter-cadre deputation of whistleblower Indian forest service officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi be reconsidered in “the larger public interest, for the welfare of [the] people of Delhi”.

His July 3 letter came almost a year-and-a-half after he announced his intention to make Chaturvedi his ‘officer on special duty‘ and ten days after the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), comprised of Modi and home minister Rajnath Singh, rejected Chaturvedi’s deputation appeal.

In the mildly-worded letter, Kejriwal recalled how on February 16, 2015, soon after taking charge as chief minister, he sent a request to the central government for Chaturvedi’s inter-cadre deputation.

Kejriwal wrote: “As per extant instructions, Appointment Committee of Cabinet is the competent authority to decide such cases, only requirement for which is consent of both the State governments and service of the concerned officer being more than nine year and not having attained super time scale [sic].”

Kejriwal asserted that Chaturvedi’s case fulfils both these conditions, since the Uttarakhand government issued a no-objection certificate on November 6, 2015 and reiterated it on April 24, 2016.

Kejriwal also referred to several of the ACC’s arguments on why the deputation would not be inappropriate.

The ACC gave two reasons for rejecting Chaturvedi’s plea. It stated that the officer had not received the mandatory clearance or no-objection certificate from his parent cadre, Uttarakhand, and that he had not spent the mandatory three-year cooling off period between the two deputations. It observed that his posting at the All India Institute for Medical Sciences, where he served as deputy secretary until late June 2016, was his first deputation. In this period, an officer is required to serve in his state cadre.

Kejriwal countered the ‘cooling off’ argument by saying that the instructions of the department of personnel and training, dated May 26, 2014, clearly state that an officer appointed as personal staff is exempted from that criteria. He also stated that the environment minister recommended the proposal to the ACC for approval in November 2015.

Urging Modi to act on the issue as per the “settled practice of our democratic polity”, Kejriwal said, “whenever an officer is required as personal staff, by any Chief Minister or Minister, of any government, same is deputed accordingly, irrespective of political differences [sic].”

He expressed surprise that after an “inordinate delay of 16 months”, which included four directions of the courts, the request has finally been rejected by the ACC.

Kejriwal made a fervent plea for Chaturvedi’s services, saying “the officer is known for integrity and efficiency and even records of Health Ministry substantiate the same, apart from his earlier performance in the State of Haryana. Last year he was conferred the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for his crusade against corruption and for bringing systematic improvement in sector of Health and Environment [sic].”

Given these credentials, Kejriwal said, it was “very unfortunate that his services were never utilized properly in Central Government nor in the State Government”.