Bhopal: ACS against EOW probe in plantation on Narmada banks

BHOPAL: The deadlock between forest minister Umang Singhar and additional chief secretary (ACS) AP Shrivastava has reached its peak. It appears that the notesheet of Singhar asking ACS, forest, AP Shrivastava to get EOW probe into plantation on Narmada banks, will go in the cold storage. Shrivastava has sent the notesheet of Singhar with his 8-page note to the Chief Secretary (CS).

Shrivastava in the note has clearly written that the investigation in plantation on Narmada bank across the state could not be handed over to EOW on the basis of Betul only. Shrivastava expressed his agreement on investigation in plantation in Shahpur area of Betul which was inspected by forest minister.

Singhar had announced Economic Offences Wing (EOW) to investigate in a scam of Rs 455 crore over plantation on Narmada bank. Singhar had demanded probe against former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and then forest minister Gaurishankar Shejwar.

Singhar had also termed the plantation wrong which was done with the intent to figure into Guinness Book of World Records. He had recommended action against then officers in this matter. Singhar also recommended action against then and current forest force chief, then and current additional principal conservator of forest, and nodal officer of plantation, BB Singh.

Shrivastava in this matter has come in support of the officers. He has written in the note sent to the CS that it was the decision of the government to figure into Guinness Book of World Records and there was no role of the officers. The officers had merely followed the instructions of the government related to plantation. He said issuing charge sheet and taking action against officers are unwarranted in this matter.

It was claimed that 7 crore saplings were planted on July 2, 2017. Congress has alleged that corruption had taken place in plantation. Singhar had claimed that merely 2.22 crore saplings, not 7 crore, were planted as per the standards of Guinness Book of World Records. From the rationale put up by Shrivastava in the note, there is no possibility of action against any officer and no irregularity seems to had taken place.

Earlier, Singhar had also tried to bypass the ACS in work distribution where files travelled from secretary to the minister and vice-versa.

CM, CS to decide: The decision over handing the probe into plantation on Narmada banks to EOW has to be taken now by Chief Minister Kamal Nath and Chief Secretary SR Mohanty. The ball has now come in the court of CS as ACS had forwarded the notesheet to him having recommendation of the minister.

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