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EC Ashok Lavasa may leave poll body, join Asian Development Bank

  Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa, who was expected to take over the poll body in 2021, may leave to join the Asian Development Bank. The Manila-based Asian Development Bank on Wednesday announced that Lavasa has been appointed as the vice-president for private sector operations and public-private partnerships. The central government recommends nominees to the bank, officials familiar with the matter said.

“Mr Lavasa has a long and distinguished career in the Indian civil service. He is currently one of the Election Commissioners of India and previously served in a range of senior posts including as Union Finance Secretary of India; Union Secretary for the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change; and Union Secretary for the Ministry of Civil Aviation. He has extensive experience in public–private partnerships and infrastructure development at the state and federal levels, with deep knowledge on public policy and the role of the private sector,” ABD said in a press release issued on Wednesday.

According to EC officials close to Lavasa, he is likely to take up the job.

“It is a prestigious assignment and he was happy to be considered,” said an official on condition of anonymity. When HT spoke to chief election commissioner Sunil Arora, he said he was not aware of these developments

A former poll official said the last time an election commissioner quit was in 1973, when Nagendra Singh, the then chief election commissioner resigned to join the International Court of Justice.

Lavasa was one of the key dissenters when the poll body took a call on a ‘clean-chit’ to prime minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah for speeches alleged to be violating the model code conduct ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2019. He was the sole dissenter in the three-member commission to object to the speeches.

Lavasa’s family later was under the scanner of the Income Tax Department for alleged discrepancies. The department also surveyed Nourish Organic Foods, where Lavasa’s son is a director.