Appointment of electoral officer for MP cooperatives flawed

Madhya Pradesh government has come under attack from civil society for allegedly bypassing rules in the appointment of electoral officer for state`s cooperatives.

Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh government has come under attack from civil society for allegedly bypassing rules in the appointment of electoral officer for state`s cooperatives.

According to the documents accessed under RTI by social activist Ajay Dubey, the name of officer--Prabhat Kumar Parashar, who has now been chosen for the post--was not mentioned among the names of 44 recommended retired IAS officers sent to the three-member screening committee led by Chief Secretary R Parasuram.

The State`s Cooperatives Department had in March sought names of retired IAS officers, who have served to the post of Secretary and above, to be selected as electoral officer from General Administration Department.
The names were then kept before the screening panel.

Parashar`s name came up for selection on the basis of a self-written letter recommending his name, it shows. However, Parashar and the government denied any violation of rules in his appointment.

"I have come to know about the appointment of state cooperative electoral officer. I am putting forth my name for the post. After selection of my name for the post, I am willing to take voluntary retirement from the service (translated from Hindi)," Parashar, who was a serving IAS officer, then, wrote to the Chief Secretary on May 29.
Accordingly his name was included in the list of officers recommended for the post. After due scrutiny, the screening committee shortlisted two retired IAS officers--S D Agrawal and Hiralal Trivedi-- and Parashar, who was then serving as Secretary in General Administration Department of the state.

Parashar, after his name was chosen for the post by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, had sought voluntary retirement from the service with effect from June 20. Following which, the Chief Secretary being the cadre controlling authority approved Parashar`s retirement and also relaxed three months notice period as mentioned in Death cum Retirement Benefit Rules, 1968 for IAS officers.

Parashar`s voluntary retirement had come into force from June 24.
"It is a sheer misuse of power where a serving IAS officer is recommending himself for the post on the condition of taking voluntary retirement. It shows collusion among officials," alleged Dubey.

"I have already submitted a memorandum to Madhya Pradesh Governor Ram Naresh Yadav seeking his intervention. We will move court to challenge his appointment," said the social activist, who has won national awards for his efforts to bring transparency in the system.

Madhya Pradesh Minister for Public Health Engineering and Cooperatives, Gourishankar Bisen said Parashar was appointed as per the rules.

"All rules have been followed in his appointment. There is no violation of rules. His name was considered after due process," said Bisen.
However, Parashar said he agreed to state government`s request of taking voluntary retirement in case he is selected.

"I was asked by the state government whether I would be willing to quit the services in case my name is selected for the post. To which, I applied for the post and got selected," he claimed.

Parashar said all rules have been followed by the state government in his selection.

"I have experience in conducting elections for the societies under the state. There is no violation of any rules. My voluntary retirement is also granted on the basis of procedure followed for giving such wilful retirement to others officers," he said.