Even seven months after he was allegedly caught red handed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) while accepting a bribe of Rs 1 lakh from a Chandigarh Police officer,no departmental enquiry has been initiated against Desh Raj Singh,former Superintendent of Police (SP),Chandigarh.
Raj,who has been placed under suspension,was arrested and booked by the CBI on October 18,2012. He was allegedly apprehended from his residence while accepting an illegal gratification from Anokh Singh,Station House Officer (SHO),Sector 26,for giving inquiry reports in his (Anokh) favour.
Surprisingly,for reasons best known to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA),despite suspending Raj,no departmental enquiry has been initiated till now. Raj was suspended on October 27,2012. In fact,Rajs suspension was extended,last week,by 180 days.
According to the Service Rules (see box),if a government servant is prima facie found guilty of misconduct or lacking in discharge of his official duties,an internal (departmental) inquiry is to be initiated against him. So that the tainted officer does not benefit from the pendency of a trial,a departmental enquiry is initiated and if found guilty,the officer can be dismissed from service.
Surprised over inaction,senior High Court lawyer Bipan Ghai said,It is shocking. Raj is a senior police officer and the accusations against him are of serious nature. He is a government servant and stands booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act. In such cases it becomes imperative for the competent authority to launch a departmental probe.
Another senior lawyer,an expert in service law,said,He was caught accepting a bribe and that too from his junior police officer to discharge his official duties. This is a very strong ground to initiate a departmental inquiry against him. The allegations are serious enough to invoke the Service Rules and to start a probe.
When asked whether the pendency of criminal case,registered by the CBI,had any bearing on launching a departmental probe,he clarified,Criminal cases and departmental probes are independent issues. The two can run parallel without having a bearing on each other.
Being an IPS officer,a competent authority to initiate departmental enquiry against Raj is the Ministry of Home Affairs and not the Chandigarh Administration.
A senior UT officer,on condition of anonymity,said,We have not yet received any initimation from the MHA in this regard.
The CBI is yet to file a chargesheet against Raj in the CBI Court. As per available information,the MHA has not given the sanction to prosecute Raj,as a result of which the CBI is unable to present its chargesheet in the special CBI Court,Chandigarh.
Norms thrown to wind
According to Rule 6 of All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules,1969,a departmental probe can be initiated against a tainted officer without awaiting the outcome of the criminal trial. After concluding the departmental probe,major penalty can be imposed,which could result in dismissal from service. One of the main grounds for invoking the provision by the Central government is lack of integrity.
A 2008-batch AGMUT cadre IPS officer,Desh Raj worked as a software engineer after graduating from IIT,Kanpur. He served as Assistant Garrison Engineer in MES,Ministry of Defence. Raj was first posted as ASP of Punjabi Bagh,Delhi,for two months. He joined Chandigarh,as ASP,on October 28,2010. He was made SP (Headquarters and City) in July 2012. Raj reportedly has considerable support from the top brass of the UT Police.