DGH rank and file feel â€کashamed' after CBI raid

Vol 13, PW 10 (22 Oct 09) People & Policy

DGH boss VK Sibal likes to claim global recession and the Ambani feud are to blame for the disastrous response to NELP-VIII.

Partly, he’s right. But one thing he fails to mention is that his partisan role in the Ambani feud and his inability to keep quiet has damaged the international perception of the institution he heads.

Talk to past and present DGH employees and the sense of shock at last week’s raid is palpable. “I feel ashamed telling anyone I worked at the DGH,â€‌ one long-serving former employee tells us.

“I can’t ever remember the CBI or the CVC conducting a raid on the DGH like this.â€‌ Set up in April 1993, the DGH under its former chief Avinash Chandra was no doubt chaotic and disorganised but it never had to suffer the ignominy of being labelled â€کcorrupt’ in the finest traditions of an African dictatorship.

Shocked DGH employees who witnessed events unfold during the six-day raid express sadness that the institution they serve and which was created to uphold the sanctity of legally binding PSCs is itself the focus of a dirty corruption probe. In India, a CBI investigation is no less serious than a FBI investigation in the US.

On the first day of the raid, eyewitnesses say up to six CBI and CVC officers turned up in two cars. After making their way to the second floor, where Sibal sits, they spent the next six days going through files and taking photocopies.

Sibal, it seems, imposed a total â€کblackout’ on the second floor, during the investigation. “No one was allowed to turn â€کleft’ when entering the second floor,â€‌ we hear.

Sibal’s office is on the left side of the second floor. “Most of us are barred from talking to outsiders about what happened.

â€‌ Most DGH employees meekly agreed not to talk, scared that Sibal would make negative comments in their crucial all-important ACR (Annual Confidential Report), which can make or break the career of state sector employees.