President Ram Nath Kovind has revoked the suspension of DoT officer Ashish Joshi, who was suspended in February 2019. Ashish Joshi was working as a controller of communication accounts at the Department of Telecom (DoT) before his suspension.
It is notable that many media reports mention him as an IAS officer, but he is actually an Indian Post & Telecommunication Accounts and Finance Service (IP & TAFS) officer, not an IAS officer. In July this year, the DoT had extended his suspension by 90 more days.
The controversial officer was suspended after he had asked the Delhi Police to take action against the then revel AAP leader Kapil Mishra, who is in BJP now, and almost all media reports had connected the suspension with this incident, but the suspension order issued to Ashish Joshi didn’t cite any reason.
Joshi had written a letter to the Delhi Police seeking action against Kapil Mishra for an alleged incendiary video, and it was circulated on social media by several journalists that it was a ‘circular’ by the DoT against the AAP MLA. The letter was written on official letterhead, but Joshi had no authority to issue such a ‘circular’ against an MLA, and it was a clear misuse of his official position for his political agenda.
While the suspension order of Ashish Joshi didn’t mention the reason for the same, it was reported citing DoT sources that he was suspended for misusing his official position by sending the complaint to Delhi Police against Kapil Mishra on his official letterhead and for violation of conduct rules.
Moreover, Joshi was also accused of being involved in a “blanket-tea scam”. It was alleged that he had misused funds allocated to the Delhi Urban Improvement Shelter Board from the Centre for Holistic Development, an NGO that works for homeless people. A complaint filed by the NGO had said, “As much as Rs.12 crore, which was allocated to DUSIB by the Lieutenant-Governor for schemes aimed at making the lives of the homeless in Delhi better, was misused during the last financial year.” Ashish Joshi as a member of the DUSIB at that time.
According to the complaint, an estimated 20,000 blankets, sheets and other provisions were procured at double the price from the market. On the other hand, tea was procured at Rs. 9 per cup against the sanctioned cost of Rs 4 per cup.