Why is AIIMS rejecting Magsaysay award winner & whistleblower Sanjiv Chaturvedi’s donation?

New Delhi: Alleging ‘humiliating and discriminatory treatment’, Magsaysay award winner and serial whistleblower Sanjiv Chaturvedi wrote to Prime Minister Modi, asking to meet him, as his donations to All India Institute of Medical Sciences has not so far been accepted. Chaturvedi, an Indian Forest Services officer, had pledged to donate the Rs19 lakh cash award to the medical institute for the treatment of poor patients.

Sanjiv Chaturvedi

On 21 September, he had sent a check to be deposited into the account of the Director AIIMS. However, in his letter to the PM, dated 5 December, he wrote that AIIMS had not deposited this amount and the matter had been kept pending on “flimsy grounds”. Chaturvedi cried foul saying that no other donor has ever been questioned, yet in his case, “knowing fully well about my credentials and source of funds, the matter was deliberately referred to Health Ministry, just to negate the contribution.”

Chaturvedi has long had a troubled relationship with the government due his various anti-corruption activities and a knack for uncovering scams wherever he has been posted. AS the Chief Vigilance Officer in AIIMS, he exposed corruption involving powerful politicians and bureaucrats, which lead to his removal from the post. Earlier in his career, as an officer in Haryana, he blew the lid off several cases of corruption in planting projects in Hisar and Jhajjar, involving officials and ministers in the then Congress state government. The investigation had led to the suspension of nine officers.

Such a career may have earned him the Magsaysay Award for his “exemplary integrity, courage and tenacity in uncompromisingly exposing and painstakingly investigating corruption in public office”. However, it led to “harassment” from the Haryana government, many obstacles in trying to change his cadre from Haryana to Uttarakhand as the central government refused to let the transfer go through till the Central Administrative Tribunal, earlier this year forced the Appointments Committee of Cabinet to pass the cadre change order.

Chaturvedi reminded the PM of his fraught history in his letter, saying that his simple, “humanitarian” gesture had fallen prey to the “intolerance of the establishment towards honesty and honest civil servants”. He also wrote that his treatment was a “direct result of annoyance of Mr. JP Nadda”, the union health minister and President AIIMS. This, because Chaturvedi had launched an enquiry into corruption cases of one of his “protege officers”, “on whose departmental chargesheet, Health Ministry is sitting for the past one year”. Chaturvedi added that since Nadda became the union minister, things have worsened for him, and his survival depends on “judicial intervention” and the PM’s own interventions.

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Sanjiv Chaturvedi has long had a troubled relationship with the government due his various anti-corruption activities and a knack for uncovering scams wherever he has been posted. As the Chief Vigilance Officer in AIIMS, he exposed corruption involving powerful politicians and bureaucrats, which lead to his removal from the post. Earlier in his career, as an officer in Haryana, he blew the lid off several cases of corruption in planting projects in Hisar and Jhajjar, involving officials and ministers in the then Congress state government. The investigation had led to the suspension of nine officers.