Jaipur, Aug 6 : IAS Ashok Singhvi is one happy man today.
Rajasthan government on Friday issued orders to reinstate him after he was arrested and suspended from the service because of his involvement in multi-crore mine scam. After the order, Singhvi has been placed on APO and is likely to be given a posting soon.
Department of personnel (dop) issued an order on Friday evening based on the recommendation of the review committee which had met on Thursday to review his status. Sources say Singhvi’s reinstatement was to be reviewed by the Chief Minister directly.
Singhvi had been suspended after the Anti-Corruption Bureau ( ACB) arrested him in the multi-crore mining scam in September 2015.
Singhvi was then the principal secretary of mining and petroleum department and had been arrested for his alleged role in the mining scam.
Singhvi’s arrest had come after ACB caught Pankaj Gehlot, additional director, mines with Rs 2.5 crore. Pankaj received the money as bribe from mine owner Sher Khan and middleman Sanjay Sethi. A Rs 20 crore bribe was reportedly asked for to restore allotment of a cancelled mine.
After Singhvi was sent to jail, he was suspended on September 17, 2015. He has been suspended for almost two years.
On September 16, 2017 he would have completed two years of suspension and as per the All India Services Rules (discipline and appeal) 1969, which governs the IAS officers the suspension cannot be beyond two years.
The rule says that if a member is suspended on charges of corruption the inquiry period should not exceed two years. Failing this the suspension order shall automatically stand revoked.
DOP sources say that after two years, the suspension can be continued only if the review committee of the central government makes such a recommendation against the bureaucrats.
Political observers say Singhvi is supposedly close to BJP, He was the principal secretary, Mines even during BJP’s previous tenure from 2003-08. When Congress returned to power, Singh took a transfer to Delhi on deputation. But he returned to Jaipur soon after BJP came back to power in 2013. Initially he was given to head the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor. There he wasn’t happy and was then made the principal secretary, department of mines.
The Opposition Congress had alleged that in 2014, 650 mines were allocated , 400 of them in December before the new auction regulation could come into place.
Singhvi was said to be the mastermind of a high-level extortion racket, which included first closing the mine and then demanding a huge bribe for reopening them. That is why Singhvi hurriedly allocated many mines in December.
But all said and done, despite the multi-crore scam, one of the biggest in the history of Rajasthan, Singhvi is free and awaiting posting.