NEW DELHI: Union finance minister Arun Jaitley lavished praise on Dr Hasmukh Adhia on Saturday, recalling his contributions during his four year-stint in the finance ministry and rebuffing those who have been attacking him while also confirming that the outgoing finance secretary had turned down offers of important positions which would have helped him continue serving beyond November 30 when he superannuates.
“The government wanted to use his capability and experience in some alternate capacity. He had informed me earlier this year that he would not work for a single day after the 30th of November 2018. His time thereafter belongs to his favourite passion and, of course, his son,” wrote Jaitley in his blog, confirming that the government was keen to retain the senior IAS officer.
According to sources, government was keen to make Adhia the cabinet secretary, a position which would have ensured him a two year-term. The government also considered, sources said, the option of appointing the officer as the Comptroller and Auditor General after moving the current head of the federal auditor to J&K as governor. Both moves were dropped after Adhia declined to serve beyond November.
Saying that the outgoing finance secretary, who served in the finance ministry for four years; three of those as revenue secretary, Jaitley highlighted his role in the launch and implementation of GST as well as in leading the government’s effort to enhance social security through schemes of financial inclusion, especially Mudra. “Dr Hasmukh Adhia executed these steps with calm and professionalism. He was unquestionably a highly competent, disciplined, no-nonsense civil servant and of course, with impeccable integrity,” Jaitley wrote.
The emphasis on “impeccable integrity” may rile influential BJP MP Subramanian Swamy, who has attacked the finance secretary. It also acquires significance in the context of developments in the Enforcement Directorate where its controversial joint director, Rajeshwar Singh, had accused Adhia of corruption.
Singh, widely seen as a pivotal figure in tumultuous developments in the CBI, has been given a show-cause notice for “insubordination”, but has been supported by Swamy.
“I wish him all the best for his post-retirement life. Thank You Dr Adhia”, wrote Jaitley.
Jaitley had come to the defence also of Shaktikanta Das when he, as economic affairs secretary, was targeted by Swamy.