The Health Ministry has appointed a new chief vigilance officer without informing the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), barely three months after it ousted AIIMS CVO Sanjiv Chaturvedi on the grounds that his appointment wasn’t approved by the CVC.
Following repatriation of Vishwas Mehta, who was holding charge as CVO, to his parent cadre, the ministry gave Manoj Jhalani, joint secretary, the additional charge from October 10 for three months. But the CVC was kept in the dark.
“A CVO can be appointed for three months without the CVC’s prior approval, but the ministry is yet to inform us about the appointment,” a senior CVC official told The Indian Express.
As per the CVC manual, “suitable arrangements in vacancies for three months… due to leave or other reasons” is permitted without the CVC’s prior approval, but “the nature and duration of the vacancy” and the name of the officer must be reported to the Commission.
A month after Jhalani’s appointment, the CVC website still lists Mehta as the CVO of the Health Ministry. In its communications to the ministry on October 21 and 22, the Commission continued to address Jhalani’s predecessor as CVO.
The Health Ministry did not follow the due process — of furnishing a panel of names in the order of preference, along with their bio-data and complete ACR dossiers for the Commission’s prior approval — though it knew well ahead that a new CVO would have to be appointed once Mehta, who was on a three-month extension, left for his parent cadre on October 9.
J P Nadda, who replaced Harsh Vardhan as Health Minister Sunday, had repeatedly sought the removal of AIIMS CVO Chaturvedi on the ground that his appointment was not approved by the CVC, prompting Vardhan to rustle up signatures of 20 Health Ministry officials in 24 working hours between August 13 and 14 to remove Chaturvedi
The CVC has since taken cognizance of Chaturvedi’s petition against his removal and on October 22 sought the ministry’s response at the earliest. The IFS officer has accused the ministry of concealing facts and alleged that Nadda committed forgeries to force his removal.
Health Secretary Lov Verma did not respond to queries.