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On criminal trial for 18 years, DDA scam accused seeks promotion to Chief Secretary grade in Haryana

Sharan, a 1990 batch officer, has been a suspect in the DDA corruption case for the last 18 years and a departmental enquiry is pending against him for the last 15 years. In 2003, the CBI had registered a criminal case on charges of corruption against Sharan — the then Commissioner (Land Disposal), at Delhi Development Authority (DDA) — and several others.

Written by Varinder Bhatia | Chandigarh |
July 8, 2021 7:07:38 pm
“Article 312 of the Constitution read with Entry 70 of the Union List provides the Union with the legislative and executive supremacy to regulate the conditions of service of the All India Services. Therefore, the Chief Minister of a state lacks the constitutional competence to override the Central government's instructions or guidelines in respect of All India Services, under Article 254 (Representational image)

The Central government has sought comments from Haryana on a matter pertaining to the promotion of IAS officer Anand Mohan Sharan to the rank of Additional Chief Secretary. Sharan, a Haryana cadre officer, is facing trial in the infamous Delhi Development Authority (DDA) scam of 2003.

The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), Government of India, has written to Haryana chief secretary Vijai Vardhan seeking the state government’s comments on the issues pertaining to Sharan’s promotion. IAS officer Ashok Khemka, in April, had taken up the issue with the Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, while marking a copy to the PMO, flagging irregular promotions being given by the state government.

Sharan, a 1990 batch officer, has been a suspect in the DDA corruption case for the last 18 years and a departmental enquiry is pending against him for the last 15 years. In 2003, the CBI had registered a criminal case on charges of corruption against Sharan — the then Commissioner (Land Disposal), at Delhi Development Authority (DDA) — and several others. He was arrested and remained in CBI’s custody and subsequently judicial custody between March 29, 2003 and May 15, 2003. He remained suspended by Government of India between April 10, 2003 and September 28, 2005; subsequently being reinstated and rejoining the state government.

In January this year, when his batchmates were promoted, Sharan had moved a representation before the Haryana government seeking promotion to the post of Chief Secretary’s grade (Level-17 in the Pay Matrix). The government referred his representation to the Legal Remembrancer, who apparently opined against Sharan’s promotion in light of the pending criminal case against him.

Sharan, vehemently, refuted Legal Remembrancer’s opinion and cited several Supreme Court judgments to strengthen his case for a promotion. He also requested the state government to get his representation examined by the state’s Advocate General.

Notably, in 2015, Sharan was promoted to the rank of Principal Secretary, despite the pending criminal case against him. Citing the same citations of various court judgments on the basis of which he got the promotion in 2015, Sharan in his fresh representation has said, “The state of Haryana would be estopped to take a stand contrary to the same five years down the lane”.

On the other hand, another senior IAS officer, Ashok Khemka, had also written to the state government, the Government of India, and the Prime Minister’s Office stating that the promotion given to Sharan was “unlawful” and “against the instructions/ guidelines of Government of India in respect of All India Services”.

“Article 312 of the Constitution read with Entry 70 of the Union List provides the Union with the legislative and executive supremacy to regulate the conditions of service of the All India Services. Therefore, the Chief Minister of a state lacks the constitutional competence to override the Central government’s instructions or guidelines in respect of All India Services, under Article 254. Notwithstanding, Anand Mohan Sharan was promoted to the Higher Administrative Grade (Principal Secretary rank) with effect from January 1, 2015, by ignoring the Union’s instructions and promotion guidelines, which foreclosed promotion during the pendency of criminal trial or disciplinary proceedings,” Khemka wrote to the state government and to the PMO.

Khemka further added, “A criminal trial is pending against Sharan after charges were framed by a competent criminal court at Delhi on April 30, 2008 in CBI’s FIR registered on charges of corruption. His Quashing Petition under Section 482 of the CrPC against the said FIR was rejected by the Delhi High Court on October 26, 2018. The allegation in the FIR registered by CBI was that Sharan, in his official capacity, entered into a criminal conspiracy with other officers of DDA and some touts to show undue favour to M/s DLF Universal Ltd in the matter of allowing FAR of 300 in place of 139 in a DLF project at Jhandewalan by charging rates much below the prevailing market rates and obtained or agreed to obtain illegal gratification as quid pro quo. Hence, the promotion of Sharan to Higher Administrative Grade from January 1, 2015 made after the issue of chargesheet in criminal trial, was unlawful”.

“Promoting officers facing criminal trial and disciplinary proceedings in corruption offences is tantamount to rewarding corruption, and is detrimental to clean administration and against the public interest. Such unlawful acts are a violation of the oath all public servants take to protect the Constitution”, Khemka wrote.

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