Centre in the dock for sacking AIIMS CVO; Congress calls it administrative terrorism

The unceremonious removal of AIIMS Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) Sanjiv Chaturvedi by Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has sparked a controversy with the opposition Congress is accusing the ruling BJP of witch-hunting and divesting Chaturvedi of the charge at the behest BJP MP JP Nadda. The Centre has however rejected these claims and called it a routine.

Who is Sanjiv Chaturvedi?

Sanjiv Chaturvedi is a 2002-batch Indian Forest Service officer from Haryana cadre. He was removed from his post of AIIMS's CVO last week with the Health Ministry citing no reason for it. His tenure was fixed for four years and was to have lasted till June 2016.

During his two years tenure at AIIMS, Chaturvedi had unearthed many corruption cases and malpractices in which CBI registered cases against senior officials of the institute.

Why was he sacked?

Harsh Vardhan on Friday had said that Chaturvedi was removed as he was "not eligible" to hold the post.

"He was not at all eligible for the post that he was holding at AIIMS. We were informed that without the approval of the Central Vigilance Commission, nobody can be assigned the post of CVO anywhere.

"This was brought to our notice, we took cognizance of the same and removed him from the post. This is routine," Vardhan said over the sudden removal of Chaturvedi.

As per a Niticentral report, the Central Vigilance Commission had also refused to approve the appointment of Chaturvedi as CVO of AIIMS back in 2012.

There have been several charges levelled against Chaturvedi in the past, says the report.

What is Chaturvedi saying?

Speaking to Mirror, Chaturvedi denied any links with Congress leaders. "I don't know why such rumours are being spread about me. If I was close to Congress leaders, why would I be transferred 12 times in five years by the Hooda government? It is also a Congress regime," he said.

BJP rejects charges of witch-hunting

The CVC through its letter dated 3/09/2012 had pointed out that Chaturvedi had been given the charge of the position of CVO AIIMS without its approval and it had asked for a fresh panel of appropriately senior level officers.

For inexplicable reasons, the Ministry of Health under the then UPA Government did not comply with the directions of the CVC in 2012.

Mumbai Mirror quoted a BJP leader as saying, "Chaturvedi is not eligible for the CVO's post. He got it because of his close links to Congress leader Rita Bahuguna Joshi."

What is the opposition saying?

The opposition Congress said the Centre was indulging in "administrative terrorism" and asked it to come clear on Chaturvedi's removal.

"There is an atmosphere of administrative terrorism and that has been done by taking away the constitutional protection to civil servants," senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said.

AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal in a press conference has termed it BJP's witch-hunting and demanded Health Minister Harsh Vardhan's resignation apart from a CBI probe.

"BJP's real agenda is out in the open," said Kejriwal.

What are AIIMS doctors saying?

Faculty members of AIIMS under the Forum for Rights and Equality and the AIIMS Front for Social Consciousness defended Chaturvedi on Friday launched a signature campaign in his support and said his sacking was not justified.

"We have started a campaign and doctors who are against the recent removal of Chaturvedi have signed," said a senior doctor.

"He is an honest officer. He had been doing his job diligently and exposed several cases of irregularities. His unceremonious removal will send wrong signal to all upright officers," said another doctor.

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