Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa, who was next in line to become the chief election commissioner in 2021, on Tuesday resigned from his post to join the Asian Development Bank, The Indian Express reported. On July 15, Lavasa was appointed the vice president for private sector operations and public-private partnerships of the Philippines-based bank.
He has submitted his resignation to President Ram Nath Kovind, requesting to be relieved on August 31. Kovind has accepted his resignation, the Ministry of Law and Justice said on Wednesday. “The President is pleased to accept the resignation tendered by Shri Ashok Lavasa, Election Commissioner with effect from the 31st August, 2020,” the notification read.
Lavasa, a retired 1980-batch Indian Administrative Service officer of the Haryana cadre, will succeed Vice President Diwakar Gupta, whose term will end on August 31. He was appointed an election commissioner in January 23, 2018, a year after he retired as Union finance secretary. He could have taken over from Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora upon his retirement from the post in April 2021 based on seniority.
During the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Lavasa disagreed with the decisions of his fellow Election Commissioners with regard to complaints of Model Code of Conduct violations against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. The rift in the poll body became public after Lavasa wrote a letter saying he would stay away from the commissioners’ meetings since “minority decisions” were not being recorded.
Later, the Income Tax Department accused members of Lavasa’s family of using unaccounted cash to get a house built in Gurugram and of having cash deposits worth nearly Rs 5 lakh in bank accounts after demonetisation. In September, the tax department issued notices to Lavasa’s wife, son and sister.