In a set back to two Gujarat cadre IPS officers, the principal bench of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), New Delhi, has refused to grant them interim relief from joining their posts on central deputation.
The bench told the officers — Satish Verma and Rajnish Rai — to join their duties while adjourning the hearing for a month.
Verma and Rai had moved CAT challenging their postings as Chief Vigilance Officers (CVO) in Meghalaya and Jharkhand, respectively, claiming the order as “vindictive”. Both the officers in their petitions have narrated that they were being harassed for investigating two encounter cases that resulted into arrests of several IPS officers as well as BJP leader Amit Shah.
Verma spearheaded the investigation of Ishrat Jahan encounter in which eight Gujarat Police officials including IPS officers P P Pandey, G L Singhal, D G Vanzara (retired), DSPs Tarun Barot, N K Amin, among others, were arrested while four officials of Intelligence Bureau including its former Special Director Rajinder Kumar were chargesheeted.
Whereas, Rai investigated Sohrabuddin encounter and arrested IPS officers Vanzara, Rajkumar Pandian, Dinesh M N (Rajasthan cadre) along with other low rank officials. Rai has claimed in his petition that it was his investigation that led the CBI to the arrest of BJP leader Amit Shah.
Both the officers have made state government and the central government as parties before the CAT.
Verma and Rai had sought interim relief from the tribunal saying, “procedure for selection and appointment of Chief Vigilance Officers in various central public undertakings is provided in official memorandum dated 18/01/2001, which provides that eligible officers should apply along with their bio-data indicating the choice of location, and the posting is to be given as per their requests made through willingness furnished by them”.
The officers have contended that they never sent their willingness for their posting as ordered by the central government.
The 1986 batch IPS officer Verma described the series of events that unfolded right from the beginning of the Ishrat Jahan encounter investigation.
He has alleged that the reason behind the state government’s antagonistic approach towards him was this particular investigation in which he was “instrumental in disclosing the truths and falsities of the encounter, collecting damning evidence against senior functionaries of the state government and exposing before the High Court the design of authorities concerned obstructing the investigation”.
Rai has contended that he had never applied for CVO post of Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) nor gave his willingness. Instead, he has mentioned that he is posted at the level of Director whose grade pay (Rs 8,700) is less than that of an Inspector General of Police (Rs 10,000).
Besides, he has contended that his posting in Jharkhand amounts to “separating a wife from her husband, with regard to existing mandatory guidelines of Government of India regarding posting of spouses in the government service at the same time”.
In fact, Rai has alleged that “the applicant’s wife was under active consideration of the Union of India in September/October 2010 for appointment on central deputation as Director in the PMO. However, the state government refused to spare her when her interview was scheduled for that purpose in the PMO, on the grounds that state was short of officers”.
He has also said that “perceiving that the state’s bias against her husband was also affecting her, the applicant’s wife in December 2013 requested the state to place her name in central deputation again…”