Pay some heed
It is befuddling why Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road and Transport, would go against the recommendations of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and appoint an officer with a highly chequered past to a key post in the ministry with powers to oversee and sanction contracts worth Rs 1,000 crore. The Ministry has overruled a stringent CVC advisory against DO Tawde, and rewarded him with the plum post of Chief Engineer (coordination) in the road branch. This, despite multiple warnings from the CVC, which had recommended hefty penalty for gross irregularities on the part of Tawde in the NH-3 from Vadape to Gonde in Maharashtra. It must be noted here that Tawde has been previously associated with National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), an organisation that has been repeatedly accused of festering corruption. NHAI had issued a no-objection certificate clearing Tawde’s eligibility for crucial joint secretary-level posts. It is obvious that NHAI and the Ministry of Road and Transport are casting a blind eye to the definitive problems within the bodies and are cherry-picking bureaucrats with tainted past in spite of advice to the contrary. However, NHAI is stranger to allegations of corruption, with even a scathing World Bank report that lifted the veil off many a fraudulent practice by private contractors in various national highway projects. Charges of kickbacks, bribes, gifts and money laundering have been flying all around since the reports surfaced three years back, but there is little indication that the government will pay any heed.