IFS officer gets rave reviews from Pranab Mukherjee

Bureaucrat took on corrupt elements in Haryana Forest Dept

IFS officer gets rave reviews from Pranab Mukherjee

The Haryana government’s vindictive action against an Indian Forest Services officer has come a cropper again with President Pranab Mukherjee upgrading his annual appraisal to “outstanding” for two years, from the “zero” category the administration had given.

This was the fourth intervention of Rashtrapati Bhavan in six years in favour of Sanjiv Chaturvedi, who took on the Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led government on forest scams in the state and faced its ire. In October last year, Mukherjee had quashed the Haryana government’s charge sheet against the officer. In January 2008, the President had revoked his suspension and in January 2011, major penalty proceedings against Chaturvedi were quashed .

Chaturvedi has been described by his immediate bosses as “honest and hardworking”. They also said he “can perform better if allowed to work freely” and his attitude towards weaker section was “nice”. However, these remarks were not accepted by the government, which wrote in his confidential report that “officer is a model of misconduct and arrogant officer, habitual to use abusive and defamatory words to his seniors. He had no control on his work.”

In another appraisal, the accepting authority said his immediate bosses had overlooked crucial facts available in records. In a communication on behalf of the President issued on Friday, Inspector General of Forests (IFS Division) Rekha Pai said the zero grade awarded by the accepting authority, as well as the adverse remarks, were “expunged in totality with immediate effect”. After considering Chaturvedi's memorandum, Pai said orders of the reviewing authority would stand.

Chaturvedi approached the President after the state government downgraded his annual confidential reports (ACRs) or performance appraisal reports for 2010-11 and 2011-12, though his immediate bosses had bracketed him in the “outstanding” category.

In 2010-11, Chaturvedi had overachieved revenue targets by 130 per cent due to which the reporting authority gave him 9.5 out of 10 and the reviewing authority a nine.

 However, the accepting authority initiated an altogether new ACR without recording any appraisal on the part of the officer and arbitrarily awarded him 3.5 out of 10, which is considered as zero according to rule. 

For the next year, the officer again overachieved revenue targets by 120 per cent and the reporting authority gave him 8.75 out of 10 and the reviewing authority 8.5.

 However, the accepting authority downgraded it to 3.5 again. The order said the President concluded that the adverse entries recorded by the accepting authority were “not found to be tenable and hence expunged”. The President said the accepting authority's reports should be “altogether discarded”.

The officer, who was transferred 12 times in five years, had alleged that he was first suspended and later the chief minister got a case of abetment to suicide registered against him after one of the accused in a scam ended his life. He also claimed that the state government kept the case open despite the investigating officer giving him a clean chit.

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