Uttarakhand based SAG officer Ashish Joshi, who was accused of being involved in ‘blanket-tea scam’, on Monday threatened to lodge a police complaint against AAP rebel MLA Kapil Mishra using his official letterhead. He posted the letter on his social media account showing his support for JNU freelance protestor Shehla Rashid and others. The letter was then circulated as an official circular from the Department of Telecommunications, Uttarakhand, as having issued by the government against Kapil Mishra.
— Shehla Rashid شہلا رشید (@Shehla_Rashid) February 25, 2019
The letter, which was signed by Ashish Joshi, was written on the official letterhead of Government of India, Ministry of Communications, which could give an impression that it was an official circular issued by the Department of Telecommunication. However, the letter was in his personal capacity, which he never clarified explicitly. Even when the letter went viral as ‘Department of Telecommunication circular’, he did not clarify that it is not a circular issued by the department but a letter he wrote in his personal capacity.
Following this, the Department of Telecommunications has taken disciplinary action against him and suspended him with immediate effect.
While the suspension letter does not mention the reason for his suspension, it could be owing to misuse of office for using official government letterhead for a letter written in a personal capacity. Media houses which covered the story, publications like left-leaning portal Scroll chose not to mention that Joshi was suspended not for complaining against Kapil Mishra, but for ‘misusing his office’ since he wrote a personal letter on his official letterhead.
Moreover, Scroll even wrongly describe him as an IAS officer in the headline when he is not one.
Ashish Joshi is not an IAS, but An Indian Post & Telecommunication Accounts and Finance Service (IP & TAFS) officer.
Pro-AAP blog, Janta Ka Reporter chose to sensationalise the report by lying that Modi Government suspended an IAS officer for reporting Mishra’s video to Police.
The news, which is categorised as ‘entertainment’ is fake considering Ashish Joshi is not an IAS officer.
Ashish Joshi’s history
Ashish Joshi was an AAP man, who was hand-picked by Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi to be a member secretary of the Delhi Dialogue Commission. However, he turned against Kejriwal and ended up filing a complaint against Delhi Government’s then Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar which led to raids at his house in connection with a corruption case.
Ashish Joshi was always on the radar of the AAP Government. After the first AAP Government quit Delhi, it was Joshi who had sent an eviction notice to former Education Minister Manish Sisodia to vacate his Government bungalow. Later, Joshi stood up to an order from AAP leaders to appoint six AAP volunteers as coordinators of different task forces by flouting the rules. After this, Joshi was removed from his post of member-secretary of the Delhi Dialogue Commission (DDC) and sent back to the Central Government.
When asked about the reason behind Joshi’s sudden exit, AAP leader Ashish Khetan said, “I don’t have to tell you that”. Later, Khetan, in a letter stated that Joshi was removed for running a “systematic vilification campaign” against the Delhi government. The letter also gave such flimsy grounds like “on several occasions, he (Joshi) has been found smoking cigars and chewing tobacco within office premises.”
Soon after, Joshi complained to Delhi Govt’s ACB against another bureaucrat, Rajender Kumar accusing him of allegedly indulging in corruption. In his complaint, Joshi alleged that Kumar, as director of Education (from May 2002 to February 2005) and later Secretary (IT), Secretary (Health) and Commissioner (VAT), had allegedly set up various companies to award work orders of departments without tenders which caused “financial loss” to the city’s government. The complaint was purely from the time when Sheila Dikshit was the CM and had nothing to do with the AAP Government.
Meanwhile, Joshi was accused of ‘blanket-tea scam’ where it was alleged that he misused funds to the tune of Rs 12 crore allotted to the Delhi Urban Improvement Shelter Board from Centre for Holistic Development, an NGO that works for the homeless. It was alleged that an estimated 20,000 blankets, sheets and other provisions were procured at double the price from the market while tea, which was supposed to be provided for free to those living in the shelters was procured at Rs 9 per cup instead of the Rs 4 per cup which was sanctioned. Joshi was also accused of being involved in ‘large scale scam’ in the utilisation of funds meant for de-addiction centres under the government.