NEW DELHI: Facing roadblocks to his crusade against corrupt public servants, whistleblower Sanjiv Chaturvedi — Indian Forest Service (IFoS) officer — has written to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking action against certain PMO officials who are allegedly protecting powerful Congress politicians and bureaucrats of B S Hooda-led Haryana government by not sharing information under transparency law.
Chaturvedi alleged that the Prime Minister Office (PMO) officials are concealing certain information which is directly and indirectly linked to the 'proposed' CBI probe into the multi-crore plantation scam in the state unearthed by him during his posting in Haryana in 2009.
The IFoS officer, currently posted here as chief vigilance officer at AIIMS, had sought these information from the PMO under the RTI Act which, he claimed, would go a long way in fixing responsibility of politicians and bureaucrats in many cases of corruption in Haryana.
The specific information, sought by him, pertained to documents and file noting relating to meeting of officers of ministries of personnel and environment that had taken place in the PMO on the issue of recommending a CBI inquiry into the plantation scam.
Unable to get the information, he went on to appeal before the first appellate authority under the transparency law. Though the authority had in November last year directed the PMO to provide Chaturvedi the relevant information, he has so far not been lucky in getting those details.
In his letter to the Prime Minister on March 10, the Haryana-cadre IFoS of 2002 batch, Chaturvedi, said, "This is very unfortunate situation where officers of your own office are involved in blatant violation of one of the flagship legislations (RTI Act) of your tenure, which has always been projected by your good-self as the most significant achievement of your government".
Without taking names of public servants, he alleged - in this two-page letter - that only motive of these officers (of the PMO) appeared to somehow protect the corrupt politicians and bureaucrats of the Haryana government.
"However, in the process, these officers of your esteemed office have simply made a mockery of the RTI Act, 2005, for which, they should be properly punished", said Chaturvedi in his letter to the PM which he claimed to have written in his "private capacity as citizen of India".
Besides demanding inquiry against concerned PMO officials, Chaturvedi has also forwarded his letter to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) seeking immediate protection for himself under the statutory provisions related to protection of whistleblowers.
Chaturvedi had exposed the scam while he was posted as divisional forest officer in Jhajjar in January, 2009. He had detected that the fund from international donor agencies was allegedly embezzled in the state in the name of plantation. He had blown the lid off the entire irregularities when he found that the plantation existed only on papers.
The ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) had in its inquiry also found the irregularities and expressed it to be a fit case which can be probed by the CBI. The ministry had in its inquiry in 2010 even named certain bureaucrats and politicians in Haryana as being involved in the scams and harassment of the whistleblower.
Chaturvedi had subsequently in November, 2012 moved the Supreme Court to implement the ministry's inquiry report and order a CBI inquiry into the matter. The state government has, however, recently filed a petition before the high court for quashing the inquiry report.