“Naa Khaaunga, Naa Khaane Dunga,” a rhetorical line often repeated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi stands exposed completely yet again. According to a report, which is based on information revealed in response to an RTI, PM Modi had made a telephonic call to the then health minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, to discuss the removal of whistleblower Sanjiv Chaturvedi from the position of chief vigilance officer (CVO) at AIIMS.
The call was made in August 2014, just months after the BJP government came to power in the centre. Chaturvedi was removed from his position, and Dr. Harsh Vardhan held the view that the former was “not at all eligible for the post that he was holding at AIIMS”. Not just this, no action was taken on his complaints.Further, despite there being a long, exhaustive note sent by the whistleblower to the PM, which indicated that the then Rajya Sabha MP JP Nadda was allegedly supporting corruption at AIIMS, the latter was made the Union Health Minister in November 2014. This is notwithstanding the fact that Mr. Chaturvedi in one of his communications to the PM requested him to provide protection from a political witch-hunt. If this was not enough, Mr. Chaturvedi was given a ‘zero rating’ in his appraisal report. Irony died a silent death as this came in the same year in which he won the Ramon Magsaysay award for exposing corruption. The entire bureaucracy was egged on by the Centre to move and secure Mr. Chaturvedi’s removal from AIIMS.
Mr. Nadda subsequently closed all cases of corruption that were exposed by Mr. Chaturvedi. A standing parliamentary committee report (tabled in the Parliament in 2015) took note of this and expressed its strong disapproval of the manner in which the matter of corruptions at AIIMS was handled.
Readers of this column will recall how we have consistently exposed the divergence between Mr. Modi’s public posturing vis a vis corruption, and his actions. This only adds to the long list of such issues. However, it is hardly surprising given how the BJP and Mr. Modi have stood strongly behind the mythical private citizen Jay Shah, whose firm’s fortunes changed radically due to the blessings of the who’s who in the government. Speaking in forked tongues is Mr. Modi’s speciality, we have learnt by now.
It is futile to expect any anti-corruption action by this government.