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Appointment of Senior ICSSR Officer Facing Vigilance Probe under HRD Scanner

Representative image

Representative image

Despite a vigilance inquiry pending against him, Khera has been recently appointed as officiating director (planning and administration) of Indian Council for Social Science Research.

New Delhi: The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has written to the Member Secretary of Indian Council for Social Science Research, VK Malhotra, and urged him to provide information on Rajiv Khera.

Despite a vigilance inquiry pending against him, Khera has been recently appointed as officiating director of planning and administration. The government’s letter, dated July 5, came weeks after News 18 reported on Khera’s appointment.

The council had recently issued Khera’s appointment order with immediate effect till further orders or a regular incumbent is appointed. The order will not have any financial implications on the ICSSR as Khera will continue to draw his salary and allowances at the existing level.

However, the appointment was against the government advisory issued in 2013 to keep Khera, a systems analyst-cum-senior programmer, out of financial and administrative roles.

Sanjay Kumar Singh, Undersecretary of Indian Council Research Division, HRD Ministry, said in its letter, “As Rajiv Khera is a Group ‘A’ Officer, the action taken in this regard was to be done in consultation with the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). Therefore, it is requested to ascertain whether the CVC’s advice was taken in the matter, if not, the reasons thereof.”

The subject of the letter read “CVC Reference no. Complaint against Dr Ranjit Sinha, the then officiating member secretary and other officials of Indian Council of Social Science Research.”

The HRD further wanted to know about the status of progress made in recovery of excess payment made to Sinha and “action taken report on the ministry’s recommendations in the matter conveyed vide its letter dated 27/8/2013.”

In 2013, the ministry had written to the member secretary, ICSSR, regarding the “CVC complaint made by Professor Maheshwari Prasad against Sinha.”
Sinha was holding the post of director (planning) since 2009. His continuance as officiating member secretary up to March 2012 and post-retirement re-employment as director (planning) was viewed as gross violation of rules as government approval was not sought for the same.

Khera was in the administration department at the time and a fact-finding report found him to be a facilitator in Sinha’s illegal holding of the post. There was an HRD order that wanted Khera to be kept “away from administration and more particularly from any responsibility which involves financial matters.”

Khera was under the scanner for processing wrongful over-payment to Sinha, which was eventually ordered to be recovered from the latter.

News18 has written to ICSSR Member Secretary VK Malhotra, wanting to know if the council has responded to the ministry. The article will be updated if and when we receive a reply from Malhotra.