Sanjiv Chaturvedi, who claims to have exposed multi-crore rupee scams at AIIMS during his stint as its Chief Vigilance Officer, has alleged in the Delhi High Court that the services of a Superintending Engineer was extended “illegally”. The Indian Forest Service officer, presently serving as Conservator of Forest (Research) at Haldwani in Uttarakhand, has filed an affidavit opposing the stand of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare that there was no illegality in extending the services of then Superintending Engineer BS Anand by Vineet Chaudhary, the then Deputy Director (Administration) at the AIIMS. He has alleged in his affidavit that Chaudhary, a 1982 batch IAS officer from the Himachal Pradesh cadre, had extended the services of the Superintending Engineer to ensure that he supervises a project to help others to allegedly commit financial irregularities in the engineering works at the institute during 2012-14.
Chaturvedi, who was on deputation in AIIMS, said that a case was registered by the CBI in September 2014 against then Deputy Director (Administration). “Superintending Engineer whose basic qualification was ITI in air conditioning and refrigeration did not fall in the category of exceptionally talented medical and scientific specialists. “In view of the AIIMS regulation, the extension was inherently and patently illegal,” Chaturvedi said, while also alleging that the CBI investigation in the case, which was earlier being probed by him as CVO of the AIIMS, was being influenced.
The ministry had asserted that after examining the allegations, the competent authority had observed that the accusation of misleading the AIIMS President was not conclusively established for initiating any disciplinary action. The submissions by the ministry and the officer were made before a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Anu Malhotra which was hearing a plea for lodging corruption cases against some senior AIIMS officials for alleged irregularities in purchase of items for the surgery department and the trauma centre.
The ministry had opposed all the contentions. The allegations were levelled by an NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation, which had claimed that despite there being prima facie findings of corruption by CBI and the then CVO against some of senior functionaries of AIIMS, no steps were being taken to register a case. The NGO had also claimed that an attempt was being made to close the cases through collusive departmental enquiry.
However, CBI, in its latest affidavit, has said, “It is submitted that CBI in its findings have found no criminality on the part of officials or officers of AIIMS and hence no FIR was registered”. The CBI’s stand was similar to that of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare which, in its reply to the NGO’s application, has said the allegations made against some of senior officials “could not be established”.
The CBI had also said that the plea, filed by the NGO, was not maintainable and the claims made in it were “wrong and misleading”. In its reply to the main petition, the CBI had last year said it had registered nine cases relating to several alleged irregularities in AIIMS in the last seven years. It had also informed the bench that a matter relating to allegations of irregularities and embezzlement of funds in purchase of surgical equipment was closed in July 2016 as no “wrongdoing” was found.