Chandigarh, October 31
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislators from Ludhiana have written identical letters to Health Minister Chetan Singh Jouramajra, lobbying for a plum posting for a health official, who was indicted and subsequently transferred for “serious official misconduct”.
Jouramajra did not take action on an inquiry report against the official for almost four months.
Three AAP MLAs Daljit Singh Grewal (Ludhiana East), Rajinderpal Kaur Chhina (Ludhiana South) and Kulwant Singh Sidhu (Atam Nagar) each wrote a demi-official letter to Jouramajra, demanding that food safety officer Yogesh Goyal be posted to Ludhiana circle 3 and given the additional charge of circle 1.
At present, Goyal is posted in Ludhiana circle 6.
All three letters (copies of which are with The Tribune) were drafted on the same date — September 21, 2022. These are carbon copies of each other, with not even a comma or a full stop changed.
The MLAs, in their letters, termed Goyal a “hardworking official”.
Earlier this year, a three-member committee constituted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner and headed by Joint Commissioner Manoj Khosla had found serious misconduct on the part of Goyal.
It was found that he and district health officer Dr Gurpreet Singh had allegedly written forged letters in the name of other food safety officers for their transfer out of Ludhiana.
The inquiry report, which recommended police action against the two officers, was submitted to the state government on June 22. Instead of taking action, Jouramajra not only sat on the file for almost four months, but also tried to get Goyal transferred back to Ludhiana circle-3.
The minister forwarded the MLAs’ letters to the FDA Commissioner for Goyal’s transfer back to the posts recommended by the three AAP legislators.
When contacted, Neelima, who was the FDA Commissioner when the inquiry report was submitted to the minister for action, said she could not recall the matter.
The incumbent Commissioner, Abhinav Trikha, said the file was submitted to the government with certain recommendations by then Commissioner. “The FDA recently received the file back with a few queries,” he said.
Jouramajra could not be contacted in spite of repeated attempts. His PA said the minister was busy.
Ludhiana (South) MLA Chhina said she was busy in a meeting with industrialists and would call back in half an hour. She, however, did not do so. Ludhiana (East) MLA Grewal and Atam Nagar MLA Sidhu did not respond to calls, and so was the case with Goyal.
‘Forged’ letters for colleagues’ transfer
- The FDA indicted food safety officer Yogesh Goyal and district health officer Dr Gurpreet Singh for mounting pressure on other officers to favour certain food outlets in Ludhiana
- Goyal and Dr Singh are under scanner for allegedly writing forged letters in the name of their colleagues for transfer
- It also found that three food safety officers were transferred out of Ludhiana on the basis of alleged forged letters written by Goyal and Dr Singh
- When of one of the three officers was shifted, Goyal got the additional charge of the vacant post
- The inquiry report recommended investigation against the two officers for ‘serious misconduct’