Central Government asks PSUs to verify if Election commissioner Ashok Lavasa used his ‘influence’ during tenure in Power Ministry

Lavasa made it to headlines in May when he disagreed with the Election Commission’s decisions with regard to violations of the MCC during the Lok Sabha elections.

New Delhi: On Tuesday the Indian government wrote to 11 public sector undertakings asking them to verify their records to check if Election Commissioner Ashok Lavas had exercised “undue influence” during his tenure as a special secretary in the Ministry of Power between 2009 and 2013.

“Shri Ashok Lavasa, IAS has been alleged during his tenure in the Ministry of Power from September 2009 to December 2013 as JS/Additional Secretary/Special Secretary used his official position to exercise undue influence to benefit few companies/associate companies,” the letter dated August 29 said to the chief vigilance officers of the PSUs. The PSUs include the National Thermal Power Corporation, NHPC Limited, or the erstwhile National Hydroelectric Power Corporation, REC Limited, which was formerly the Rural Electrification Corporation, and the Power Finance Corporation.

Lavasa made it to headlines in May when he disagreed with the Election Commission’s decisions with regard to violations of the Model Code of Conduct during the Lok Sabha elections. The rift within the three-member Election Commission came into the open after an explosive letter by Lavasa, in which he said he was staying away from the meetings since “minority decisions” were not being recorded.

Also Read: Why Ashok Lavasa opted out of Election Commission meetings?

In its letter, the Power Ministry has annexed 14 companies in which Lavas’s wife Novel Lavasa served as director. It has also attached a list of projects in which either Lavasa or his wife were indulged.

In an attached list of 135 projects awarded by various PSUs and state governments to companies of the A2Z Group, with details of payments to the tune of Rs 45.8 lakh received by Novel Lavasa. Another list of 13 large projects was given by various state governments to A2Z Waste Management Limited between 2009-2011 when Ashok Lavasa was posted in the Power Ministry.

Earlier in the month of September, the Income Tax department had issued notices to three members of the Lavasa family, including to the Election Commissioner’s wife Novel, for alleged non-declaration of income and disproportionate assets.

The notice to Novel Lavasa pertained to her income as an independent director of multiple companies. The sources say Lavas’s wife became an independent director in companies after the Election Commissioner took charge as secretary of the government of India. She is an EX- Banker, who resigned from SBI around 2005.

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