Rajnish Rai, a Gujarat cadre 1992-batch IPS officer who had probed the 2005 Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case, has quit the job with a note saying that “he be treated as retired”. He has also filed an application before the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) in Ahmedabad, challenging the central government’s decision to rejection his request for voluntary retirement.
Acting on his application, the CAT issued notices to the central as well as Gujarat governments on December 10, seeking their responses by January 1, 2019.
Rai, who is officially at present IG, Counter Insurgency and Anti-Terrorism School, CRPF in Chittoor, had moved the tribunal after he got an email asking him “to immediately join duties in view of the fact that his application for retirement had not been accepted by the Competent Authority of Ministry of Home Affairs.”
He was transferred to Chittoor in 2017 from Shillong following his report on “a suspected fake encounter during a joint counter insurgency operation of security forces” in which two alleged insurgents were killed in Assam. Before being posted to Shillong, Rai as a vigilance officer at Uranium Corporation of India Limited in Jharkhand had also prepared a report highlighting alleged corruption in the corporation and recommended criminal cases against several senior officers. He was chargesheeted by government for the report on the ground that he had acted “without due approval from the competent authority.”
On August 23 this year, Rai moved an application seeking early retirement under the government’s Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) on completion of 50 years of his age. He had cited the All India Services (Death-Cum-Retirement Benefit) Rules, 1958, as his ground for the VRS. Under section 16 (2) of the rule, after completion 50 years of age one can proceed on VRS, provided he or she is not under suspension.
Rai stated in his application that he would be seeking alternate employment to earn his livelihood and for this “it is necessary that the respondents be restrained from interfering, directly or indirectly, with any such effort by the applicant to seek employment/occupation/profession in a manner prejudicial to him”.
When the government didn’t respond to the application, Rai sent a reminder on October 15. On 23 October, Rai received a letter from the government, informing him that his request for retirement has been rejected “since he was not clear from the vigilance angle”.
On November 30, the day from which he had sought retirement, Rai wrote to Secretary (MHA) that “he has relinquished charge as the IG, CIAT, Chittoor from 30.11.2018 after office hours and requested that he be treated as having retired from service with effect from 30.11.2018, after office hours in view of the existing rules and law in this regard”.
As a supervising officer with CID-Crime probing the alleged fake encounters of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife Kauser Bi and Tulsiram Prajapati, Rai made the first arrests that included three IPS officers — D G Vanzara, Rajkumar Pandian and Rajasthan cadre officer Dinesh M N.