Skip to main content

Retired IAS babus make beeline to head "toothless" anti-corruption watchdog Gujarat Vigilance Commission

By Our Representative
Four retired bureaucrats of the Gujarat government – Haribhai Patel, HK Dash, Rajesh Kishore and SK Nanda – are said to have made the beeline to head a state organization which is long considered toothless, Gujarat Vigilance Commission (GVC). Patel retired from the IAS in 2014, Dash and Kishore in 2015, and Nanda more recently, in February 2016.
“They have applied for the top GVC post, often used as a sanctuary for high-profile IAS officials who feel dissatisfied”, a senior official in the state government said. “The state home department will decide on whom to choose from among them.”
SK Nanda
Patel retired as state commercial tax commissioner, Dash and Kishore retired while on deputation to Delhi, and Nanda – who was refused chief secetaryship because of his alleged closeness to Congress politicians – last served as chairman and managing director of the state-run Gujarat State Finance Corporation.
A commission, which is supposed to look into complaints – including those received from individuals – of misappropriation by state officials, it is currently headless. At present, additional chief secretary, home, PK Taneja, a serving IAS bureaucrat, is heading the organization as additional charge.
Having recommendatory powers, the GVC website seeks the cooperation of all “right thinking people” eliminate the scourge of corruption by making complaints. “Any member of the public can lodge a complaint with the GVC of those relating to malpractices, misconduct or corruption in public services relating to officers/employees of Gujarat government”, it says.
Ashok Narayan
The website shows that the GVC has released its annual report – which is generally a compilation of the number of complaints it received over the year – till 2013. However, it has not made public annual reports for 2014 and 2015 for unspecified reasons.
The GVC has no powers to begin legal action in case substance is found in the complaint. It makes recommendations, which have to be implemented by the concerned departments. “Therefore, the applicant should find out further progress in the matter from the concerned authorities”, the GVC website says.
Ironically, the GVC has powers to take “appropriate legal action” against an ordinary application, in case the complaint she or he has made is found to be “false.” The website quotes a Gujarat government order in an order warning complainants regarding this so that they refrain from indulging in what it calls “falsehood.”
The recommendations it can make include starting a departmental inquiry against an official, prosecution in case of there is an “element of fraud/misappropriation”, and suspension and transfer to “non-sensitive posts” to facilitate an inquiry. 
HN Chhibbar

Even its recommendations have remained on paper. An inquiry was instituted against IAS bureaucrat HN Chhibbar on the last date of his retirement, November 30, 2011, despite a clear-cut GVC recommendation, which insists such act of chargesheeting officialson the last day should be “avoided”.
Chhibbar, it is widely known, was asked by the chief minister’s office to dig out facts to persecute Congress politician Arjun Modhwadia when he was district collector, Porbandar. Failing to find none, he instead found a BJP leader, Babu Bokhiriya, a Cabinet minister in the current Gujarat government under Anandiben Patel, was involved in a mining scam.
Ashok Narayan, a Gujarat cadre IAS bureaucrat, who failed to be state chief secretary despite being the senior most, is known to have been appointed Gujarat vigilance commissioner in 2003 in controversial circumstances. “It's a toothless body. They don’t give us any powers. What’s the use of these inquiries?”, he reportedly told a senior journalist in Gandhinagar.
Rajesh Kishore
Narayan had won the displeasure of the then chief minister Narendra Modi for refusing, as state home secretary, to give permission to the Gaurav Yatra ahead of the December 2002 Gujarat assembly elections. The Gaurav Yatra was a Modi effort propagate the “pride” of Gujarat against the backdrop of 2002 Gujarat riots.
He remained in office for five long years, and is known to have written several letters to the state government to make the vigilance commission an effective body with semi-judicial powers, but to no avail. Given extension every six months, Narayan was succeeded by former chief secretary Manjula Subramaniam in 2008.

Comments

TRENDING

Allow international human rights observers, media to access Kashmir: US lawmakers

Counterview Desk
In a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, two members of the American Congress, Pramila Jayapal and James McGovern, raising "significant concerns" about what they call "humanitarian and human rights crisis in Jammu & Kashmir”, quoting "credible reports" from journalists and advocates on the ground" have said that "the Indian government has detained thousands of people with no recourse, imposed de facto curfews on residents' and cut off internet and telephone access in the region.”

Rescind Gates Foundation award to Modi, demand three Nobel Peace laureates

Counterview Desk
In a major boost to those opposing the award to the Gates Foundation’s proposed to be awarded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, three Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Mairead Maguire (1976), Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman (2011) and Shirin Ebadi (2003), have in an open letter called upon Milinda and Bill Gates to withdraw their decision, stating Modi is allegedly involved in human rights violations.

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Now clampdown on rally, arrest of pro-freedom activists in Pak-occupied Kashmir

Counterview Desk
In a fresh evidence, international human rights organizations are not just confining their attention on the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), whose special status was taken away by the Government of India in early August, leading to an unprecedented clampdown on the region. They have simultaneously begun focusing on the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), where the situation is said to be worsening.
Thus, the International Human Rights Council ((IHRC) Hong Kong (HK), a top human rights organisation, said to be working towards to the promotion peace, equality, fundamental rights and social justice “as enunciated in the UN Human Rights Charter and other instruments of human rights”, has noted now a new wave of independence movement has struck PoK.  With offices in US, UK, Switzerland and Hong Kong, and having Kirity Roy and Lenin Raghuvanshi as IHRC office bearers from India, in a statement, it has claimed that on September 7 one of the biggest pro-Independenc…

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

By Our Representative
Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are abou…

Bullet train impact report Japan agency property: Govt of India tells Gujarat NGO

The National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) has told Gujarat-based environmental organization, Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) that the detailed report of Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) representatives on their visit to Gujarat and Maharashtra assess the impact of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project on farmers is not its property, but that of JICA.

NHSRCL letter to PSS, signed by activists Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant and Swati Desai, comes following the latter’s request to it on June 10 for the report. PSS was one of the NGOs that represented JICA on the project, saying, if implemented, it would adversely impact farmers, even as pointing towards the fact that the project itself is unviable and Indian Railways needs to invest, instead, more on upgrading the present railway infrastructure.
Following the NHSRCL reply, PSS has shot a second letter to JICA, insisting that the latter should share a copy of the report, even as providing details of the …

Karma tribal festival an occasional to campaign for tribal rights: IPMSDL

By Our Representative
The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL), in a solidarity statement has suggested that the current Karam festival of Central India -- which seeks to promote sisterhood, friendship, cultural unity, and closer link to nature -- should be the occasion to campaign against alleged efforts to violently drive away forest dwelling communities from their forest homes.
"Millions are threatened to lose lands and livelihood under the implementation of Forest Rights Act (FRA) of 2006", the statement States, adding, "As corporate interests continues to enter tribal territories and extract profit from its natural resources, indigenous people are pushed to further marginalization and discrimination."
Asserting that indigenous movement in India "remains steadfast in keeping their culture, deeply linked to their lands alive by carrying out their heritage and struggles", IPMSDL, even as extending "…

Report on "torture" in Kashmir jails: 44% detainees stripped naked, 29% electrocuted

Counterview Desk
A recent report titled “Torture: Indian State’s Instrument of Control in Indian-administered Jammu & Kashmir”, published by the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), has claimed to build “on the body of human rights documentation on torture” in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) through an examination of 432 case studies. It seeks to focus on "the trends and patterns, targets, perpetrators, contexts and impact of torture" in the state.

Amidst Modi celebrations, thousands protest 'massive' submergence in Narmada Valley

By Our Representative
Thousands of women and men gathered on at the Shaheed Stambh in Badwani, Madhya Pradesh, to raise their voice against what they called "the destruction of the Narmada Valley", protesting against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Gujarat BJP rulers for celebrating the Sardar Sarovar dam being filled up to the full reservoir level (FRL) on September 17, which also happens to be Modi's birthday.
Calling it a black day for the people of the Valley, whose villages and farms got submerged because of highest-ever water level having been achieved in the dam, the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), which organised the parallel rally across the border with Gujarat, regretted in a statement that Modi's celebration at the dam took place amidst " martyrdom of the Valley".
The demonstration in Badwani was preceded by a vehicles rally, which took rounds of the city streets. They were joined by people from several villages of Dhar district. They gather…

Narmada valley: SC notice to Gujarat, MP, M'rashtra on submergence sans rehabilitation

By Our Representative
Thr Supreme Court has issued notice to Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra governments following a Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA)-backed petition seeking the explanation as to whether large areas of Narmada Valley have gone into submergence by filling up the Sardar Sarovar dam up to the full reservoir level (FRL) without rehabilitating the project affected families (PAFs).