New Delhi: In a move bound to raise eyebrows, the Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR) has appointed Rajiv Khera as its officiating director of planning and administration despite a pending vigilance inquiry against him.
The Ministry of Human Resource Development had in 2013 issued an advisory to keep Khera, a systems analyst-cum-senior programmer, out of financial and administrative roles.
Sources told News18.com that a fact-finding committee was constituted to submit its observations on the vigilance inquiry and the ICSSR had also prepared a detailed action report submitted to
the HRD ministry to be sent to the Central Vigilance Commission. There has been no communication on it since it was submitted in 2016.
In April 2019, the ICSSR issued the order for Khera’s appointment “as officiating director (Planning and Administration) with immediate effect till further orders or a regular incumbent is appointed, and whichever is earlier”.
The appointment will not have any financial implications on the ICSSR as Khera will continue to draw his salary and allowances at the existing level.
In 2013, the HRD Ministry had written to member secretary ICSSR regarding the “CVC complaint made by Professor Maheshwari Prasad against Ranjit Sinha.” Sinha was holding the post of Director (Planning) since 2009. His continuance as officiating member secretary up to March 2012 while under post-retirement re-employment as Director (Planning) was viewed as gross violation of rules as government approval was not sought.
At the time Khera was in Administration. The fact-finding inquiry found that he was a facilitator in Sinha irregularly occupying the post.
The order by the MHRD advised the ICSSR “to keep Rajiv Khera away from administration and more particularly from any responsibility which involves financial matter.” Khera was under the scanner for processing wrongful overpayment to Sinha, which was eventually ordered to be recovered from the latter.
Contacted by News18.com, Khera said wasn’t aware of the vigilance case though then ICSSR chairman SK Thorat had sent him a warning letter.
“There was a government advisory till the CVC inquiry was pending to keep me out of administrative and financial roles. But it was sorted out when Thorat as chairman gave me a warning letter asking me to be careful next time. The government had issued an advisory to keep me away from administrative and financial role, the new assignment as director does not have any financial responsibility,” he said.
News18.com also sent emails to ICSSR chairman BB Kumar and member secretary VK Malhotra, but they were yet to respond. There was also no response from the Ministry of Human Resource Development.