Tainted Maharashtra officer may be axed

State information commissioner refused to quit over Adarsh scam

Tainted Maharashtra officer may be axed

“We have submitted enough grounds to the governor as to why Tiwari’s continuation in the office will not be in the interest of the state,” Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan told a press conference after the weekly cabinet meeting.

“It is the cabinet’s decision that he (Tiwari) should not continue,” Chavan said. The cabinet has recommended Governor K Sankaranarayanan to make a reference to the Supreme Court as per the procedure laid down in the Right to Information Act 2005 for his suspension from the post.

Under Section 3 of the RTI Act dealing with the State Information Commission, “the state chief information commissioner or a State Information Commissioner shall be removed from his office only by order of the Governor on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity after the Supreme Court, on a reference made to it by the Governor, has on inquiry, reported that the state Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner, as the case may be, ought on such ground be removed.”

Pending the inquiry by the Supreme Court, the cabinet recommended the Governor to suspend Tiwari from the office, and also prohibit him from attending the office during that period as per the provisions of the RTI Act.

Government action

Tiwari is the first high functionary holding a statutory position against whom the government is acting for alleged involvement in the scam. The IAS officer was appointed as the Information Commissioner for a fixed term of five years after his retirement from the civil service.

Tiwari was the state urban development secretary and was directly handling the Adarsh file when the controversial proposal was cleared by his department. His son Onkar was found to be an allottee of a flat in the 31-storey Adarsh Tower, originally meant for the Kargil War heroes, widows and defence personnel, but largely cornered by state politicians and bureaucrats or their nominees.

Tiwari was also accused of obstructing flow of information about clearance of the Adarsh society under the RTI, an information regime over which he currently presides to the detriment of public interest. The Adarsh building is allegedly constructed in violation of several rules and regulations including CRZ, and the ownership of the land on which it stands itself is in question as whether it belongs to the state or the defence.

The state government was trying to get Tiwari resigned owning “moral responsibility” for the scam. He even tried to duck possible action by applying for a long leave to the Governor, but his leave was not sanctioned.

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