Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa, slated to take charge as the chief of the poll body, stepped down on Tuesday to join the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as vice-president next month.
Lavasa tendered his resignation to President Ram Nath Kovind and requested that he be relieved by the end of this month.
The Philippines-based ADB had shared the news about Lavasa's appointment last month. “He (Lavasa) has extensive experience in public-private partnerships and infrastructure development at the state and federal levels, with deep knowledge on public policy and the role of the private sector,” the bank had said in a press statement.
Lavasa still has more than two years remaining in his tenure at the Election Commission of India (ECI). After his early departure, his colleague Sushil Chandra is next in line.
Lavasa will take over from ADB vice-president Diwakar Gupta who is responsible for private sector operations and public-private partnerships. Gupta's tenure ends on August 31.
Lavasa, a retired IAS officer of the Haryana cadre (1980 batch), joined the poll body as the Election Commissioner in January 2018. He retired as Finance Secretary. Besides this, he was also the environment and civil aviation secretary. During his tenure as joint secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs between 2001-2002, he was in-charge of issues relating to ADB.
Lavasa hit the headlines during the Lok Sabha elections last year when he dissented in as many as 11 EC decisions involving complaints against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah for alleged Model Code of Conduct (MCC) violations where they were given a clean chit. Last September, the Income Tax Department issued notice to Lavasa's wife pertaining to her income as independent director of multiple companies.
His wife Novel Singhal, however, had denied the allegations and said she has paid all her tax dues and has replied to all I-T notices served since August 5, 2019.