Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa set to join Asian Development Bank as vice president

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Written by Ritika Chopra | New Delhi | Published: July 15, 2020 1:40:27 pm

Ashok Lavasa joined as Election Commissioner on January 23, 2018

Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa is set to join the Philippines-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) as vice president.

Lavasa still has over two years left in his term at the Election Commission of India. He would have retired as the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) in October 2022.

As CEC, he would have conducted Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa, among other states. His premature exit — a second in the Election Commission’s history — puts his colleague Sushil Chandra next in the line of succession. In 1973, Chief Election Commissioner Nagender Singh had resigned before completing his term at the Election Commission to become a judge of the International Court of Justice.

According to sources, his appointment to the ADB was finalised with the concurrence of the union government. Lavasa did not wish to comment on the matter when contacted by The Indian Express on Wednesday. This newspaper could not confirm if he has resigned as Election Commissioner.

ADB appoints a vice president for a term of three years, which can be extended by another two years. The ADB president heads a management team comprising six vice presidents.

Lavasa will succeed vice president Diwakar Gupta, who is in charge of private sector operations, and public-private partnerships. Gupta completes his term on August 31.

Lavasa had made headlines during the Lok Sabha elections in 2019 when he opposed the clean chit given to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former BJP president Amit Shah on charges of violating the Model Code of Conduct during the Lok Sabha elections.

Soon after the elections, three members of the Lavasa family including his wife came under the scanner of the Income Tax Department for alleged non-declaration of income and disproportionate assets. His son Abir Lavasa’s company (Nourish Organic) and Ashok Lavasa’s sister Shakuntala Lavasa, a paediatrician, were also served income tax notices. The family members have denied allegations made by the IT department.

Lavasa joined as Election Commissioner on January 23, 2018. He is a retired IAS officer of Haryana cadre (1980 batch). He retired as Finance Secretary and has also served as environment and civil aviation secretary. As joint secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs in 2001-02, he looked after matters pertaining to ADB.

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