In a major jolt to the Odisha government, the Supreme Court on Monday quashed its appeal challenging the Odisha High Court order cancelling the vigilance case against CRPF DG and former Odisha DGP Prakash Mishra.
The state government had moved SC on August 13 challenging the High Court’s decision by filing a special leave petition.
On June 19, the Odisha High Court had quashed the state vigilance case against Mishra over allegations that he favoured some suppliers in 2009 during his tenure as CMD of Orissa Police Housing and Welfare Corporation. “It’s not uncommon that honest and upright officers are victimised by political establishments,” the HC had said observing that director of vigilance did not “ensure free and fair investigation before registering a case against the officer”.
The appeal was quashed by an SC bench consisting of Justice J Chelemeshwar and Justice Abhaya Manohar Sapre. Odisha Government had hired senior SC lawyers Harish Salve and Abhishek Manu Singhvi to fight its case.
Mishra in his reaction said the SC order was a victory for “truth and justice”.
On September 20, the Bhubaneswar vigilance division had registered a case against Mishra, then special secretary in Ministry of Home Affairs, under section 13(2) and 13(1)(d) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and section 409 and 120-B of Indian Penal Code alleging during his tenure as CMD of Orissa Police Housing and Welfare Corporation, advance payment of Rs 59 crore was given some steel and cement suppliers in 2009 against existing rules. Mishra then moved a petition in the High Court seeking quashing of the FIR against him.
The vigilance case lodged in September last year, weeks ahead of the selection of CBI chief, had burnt all chances of Mishra getting to the top post.
Mishra who was appointed as Odisha DGP in July 2012, was instrumental in reining in the Maoists in southern Odisha districts and conducted an incident-free Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in the State in April last year. However, Mishra’s relationship with chief minister Naveen Patnaik turned frigid after he allegedly refused to help the ruling BJD in 2014 election.
It sought to humiliate him further by shunting him out to a relatively inconsequential post of CMD of the Odisha State Road Transport Corporation after union home minister Rajnath Singh in July last year sought Mishra for the post of special secretary in MHA. Naveen, brought in Sanjeev Marik, a relatively junior officer with a controversial past as new DGP.
It may be noted that the state government, in its FIR, had charged Mishra with favouring some suppliers during his tenure as the CMD of Odisha Police Housing and Welfare Corporation between 2006-7 and 2009-10.