Power hires 14 companies with EC's wife Ashok Lavasa on board under the lens

NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Energy requested anticorruption control agencies in 11 entities under its administrative control to determine if the Ashok Election Commissioner had undue influence during his term in the ministry to secure business for companies that had his wife Novel Lavasa as director .

Lavasa, a former Indian administrative service Officer of the 1980 lot, he served as joint secretary, additional secretary and special secretary between September 2009 and December 2013.

He was appointed electoral commissioner in January 2018 after his retirement as secretary of expenses. In the electoral commission, he is next to the chief election commissioner Sunil Arora.

As election commissioner, Lavasa had dissented against the EC giving a clear talk to the prime minister and the head of BJP Amit Shah in five charges of alleged violation of the voting code during Lok sabha elections.

Lavasas are also under scrutiny for income tax issues. Although Novel faces notices about disproportionate assets, notices have been sent to a company promoted by Ashok Lavasa's son, Abir, and his sister Shakuntala Lavasa, a pediatrician by profession, for not declaring income.

In a communication dated August 29, the ministry drew the attention of CVOs (surveillance directors) in the identified UPMs (public sector companies) to claim that Lavasa had influenced the decisions of its managers to benefit some companies or companies associated.

The communication asks the CVOs to analyze the relevant records for any possible evidence. For a more precise approach, the ministry sent a list of 14 companies that had Novel in their directories and that did some business or others with PSUs directly or through associates during Lavasa's tenure in the ministry.

The ministry has also sent a list of 135 projects that were awarded to a particular group by the PSUs and state governments and lists the payments for a total of Rs 45.8 lakh received by Novel. There are also 13 major projects awarded to another company by several state governments during the period under consideration.

The communication was approved by Subhash Chandra Garg, who resigned from his position as secretary of power on October 31. He was the secretary of finance but sought voluntary retirement from the service shortly after being transferred to power.