New Delhi, Apr 9 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today sought the Centre’s response on a plea alleging that the Union Health Ministry had illegally closed graft cases of thousands of crores and connected disciplinary proceedings against some former senior officials of the AIIMS without the approval of the competent authority — the Prime Minister.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar issued notice to the Centre and sought its reply by July 31 on the application by an NGO.

The NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), has claimed that all corruption cases, some in relation to over Rs 6,000 crore worth of infrastructure development at the AIIMS, against the bureaucrats were being illegally closed without following the due procedure and without approval of the competent disciplinary authority — the Prime Minister, as he is in charge of the Department of Personnel and Training.

The application has been moved by the NGO in its main petition for expeditious and objective investigation into alleged major corruption cases at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) during the years 2012-14 involving senior bureaucrats.

In its latest application, filed through advocate Prashant Bhushan, CPIL has sought directions to the Centre to immediately refer the cases of corruption to the competent disciplinary authority for passing well reasoned orders.

The NGO has claimed that the previous Health Minister, Dr Harshvardhan, as well as CBI had recommended major penalty proceedings against some AIIMS officials in connection with alleged financial irregularities at the premier hospital here.

It has also said that former Health Minister Gulam Nabi Azad too had approved departmental proceedings against one of the bureaucrats for alleged financial irregularities and that case too has been closed by merely cautioning the official in question.

“It is apparent from the above mentioned closure of corruption cases .. by Union Health Ministry, without even the matter being referred for consideration of competent disciplinary authority as per statute, that no fair decision is being taken in respect of these cases under the influence of the Respondent No.3 (J P Nadda),” the application said and sought summoning of records of the graft cases that were closed without the competent authority’s approval.

Besides a CBI probe into the graft cases, the NGO in its main petition has also sought recusal of Nadda from acting as a disciplinary authority, alleging that he had “unfettered powers to influence the course of proceedings in all the corruption cases”.

Nadda had earlier told the high court that the PIL was “actuated by ulterior motive” to gain political mileage and “malign” the government’s image.

Former Chief Vigilance Officer of AIIMS, Sanjeev Chaturvedi, had filed an affidavit in the matter.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.