Taking note of the contentions in a PIL against union health minister JP Nadda for being active in the removal of former vigilance chief of AIIMS Sanjiv Chaturvedi to ‘save’ his own men involved in corruption and serious irregularities at the country’s premier institute, the Delhi high court on Wednesday sought response from the minister and others.

JP Nadda

Taking note of the contentions in a PIL against union health minister JP Nadda for being active in the removal of former vigilance chief of AIIMS Sanjiv Chaturvedi to ‘save’ his own men involved in corruption and serious irregularities at the country’s premier institute, the Delhi high court on Wednesday sought response from the minister and others.The PIL was filed by Aam Aadmi Party member and noted lawyer Prashant Bhushan, through an NGO, seeking an order restraining the minister from taking any decision to withhold the proceedings in some cases and also expeditious investigation of the cases initiated by Chaturvedi against the top level AIIMS officials including former deputy director (Admin) Vineet Chaudhary, an IAS officer who allegedly has strong connection with Nadda.It was alleged that when Nadda was health minister in Himachal Pradesh, Chaudhary was health secretary there. Nadda became Rajya Sabha MP in 2012 and became minister in November, last year.Whistleblower Chaturvedi, who was removed from the post in August, last year by the Centre, has been chosen by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to head the city’s Anti Corruption Bureau.Chaturvedi, who is now the deputy secretary at AIIMS, in his two-year stint as anti-graft officer at AIIMS, had successfully completed more than 150 investigations in which officials were charged and penalised.The PIL also asked Nadda to recuse himself from all cases and from acting as a disciplinary authority, alleging that he had “unfettered powers to influence the course of proceedings in all the corruption cases”.A division bench led by Chief Justice G Rohini issued notice to Nadda, AIIMS, CBI, Central Vigilance Commission and Chaturvedi and sought their response by April 22.Citing that 17 cases are with CVC, nine are with CBI and seven are exclusively with vigilance department of AIIMS, the NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation has said that Chaturvedi initiated action in the corruption cases related to various malpractices including “supply of dubious medicines by a private chemist shop, having influential political nexus, role of middlemen in making fake out patient department cards, illegal extension of service of an engineer.”It sought a revival of all cases in which action was initiated by Chaturvedi before he was removed by then union health minister Harsh Vardhan in August last year from his post as chief vigilance officer of AIIMS.As per PIL, in August 2014, cases against Chaudhary for involving in serious irregularities – illegal extension in service of then Superintending Engineer, irregularity in appointment of consultants at AIIMS in violation of General Financial Rules provisions, causing disappearance of file for the creation of the post of CVO, heavy misuse of official vehicle, radiation therapy to pet dog, lavish renovation of office room….. referred by Chaturvedi to CVC but the panel returned the matter to the ministry and now no progress is made in the case after Nadda “reviewed” it.

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PIL seeks JP Nadda’s recusal from AIIMS graft probe