The Gujarat High Court Monday extended relief to Gujarat cadre IPS officer Rajnish Rai till June 26 in an ongoing petition where he has challenged the Central government’s decision to disallow him from retiring from the services in November last year.
Rai is the officer who, in 2007, arrested three IPS officers, DG Vanzara (now retired) and Rajkumar Pandian, both from Gujarat cadre, and Dinesh MN, of Rajasthan cadre, in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh ‘fake’ encounter case.
Rai was granted the relief by a division bench, as the union government, which had filed a counter-petition, sought time to file an additional affidavit so as to put on record subsequent developments since it filed a chargesheet against Rai in January for alleged “unauthorised handing over” of his charge.
The union government’s counter-petition has also challenged the jurisdiction of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), Ahmedabad as well as the maintainability of the tribunal’s January 21 order, which had stayed action against the officer.
On January 21, CAT’s Ahmedabad bench directed the state and central governments to not take any action against Rai with respect to the chargesheet against him issued by the CRPF, where Rai was last posted. The tribunal cited the pending decision on Rai’s plea challenging the Centre’s rejection of his request seeking voluntary retirement. The government had refused to retire him stating that “he was not clear from the vigilance angle” and cited a chargesheet of 2017 served to him by the Centre, and three preliminary inquiries against him pending with the Gujarat government. In fact, the fresh chargesheet of January, issued to Rai by the Directorate General, CRPF had alleged that by the “unauthorised handing over” of his charge, Rai had acted “in a manner unbecoming of a member of the service” and thereby violated the service rules.
In August 2018, Rai sought voluntary retirement under Rule 16 (2) of the All India Services (Death-Cum-Retirement-Benefits) Rules, 1958, from service from November 2018, after serving the three-month mandatory notice period.