In a huge setback to the Centre’s Narendra Modi government, the Supreme Court on Friday agreed with the Uttarakhand High Court’s verdict that the Centre and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences had treated the Magsaysay Award winning IFS officer in a vindictive manner.
The Supreme Court bench of Justices R Banumathi and Indira Banerjee dismissed the appeal filed by the AIIMS with a fine of Rs. 25,000 and concluded that the order of chairman of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) singly staying proceedings before a two-member bench of the tribunal was ‘without jurisdiction’ and ‘unsustainable in law.’
In August last year, the Uttarakhand High Court had imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on the Modi government for misleading the principal bench of the CAT in New Delhi into staying proceedings. This was after the whistleblower IFS officer Chaturvedi approached the Nainital bench seeking quashing of his poor appraisal.
Chaturvedi, who has earlier served as the Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) at AIIMS during 2012-14, has been at loggerheads with the Modi government after he unearthed several instances of corrupt practices during his stint as as the CVO of AIIMS. He was relieved from his duty as soon as he exposed corruption at the premier medical institute in India’s national capital.
Although he continued to retain the post of Deputy Director at AIIMS, Chaturvedi alleged that his removal from the CVO post was a result of campaign by corrupt officials. BJP leader and Union Health Minister JP Nadda was alleged to have acted against Chaturvedi on behalf of Vineet Chaudhary, an IAS officer from his own state, Himachal Pradesh.
During his stint as AIIMS CVO, Chaturvedi initiated action in around 200 corruption cases; punishment was imposed in 78 cases, charge-sheet was issued in 87 cases and more than 20 cases were referred to CBI for criminal investigation.
In 2015, in an exclusive interview with Janta Ka Reporter, the Magsaysay Award winner had said that the Modi government was against anti-corruption forces.
The Modi government had also refused to entertain Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s request to have Chaturvedi serve in his government as an officer on special duty.