Court irked by delay in CBI probe and DoPTs sanction to prosecute the IAS officer
The Allahabad High Court will treat the petition of IAS officer Pradeep Shukla,an accused in the multi-crore National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam,as a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) and monitor its investigation. Shukla had filed a petition seeking quashing of the five FIRs registered against him by the CBI on the ground that the investigating agency had not taken proper sanction for prosecution from the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT),which controls the service conditions of the IAS officers.
The court passed the order as it was not happy with the delays in the CBI investigation,as well as granting of sanctions by the DoPT. The Division Bench of Justices Amar Saran and Pankaj Naqvi said the reasons put forward by the agencies about the delay were unacceptable.
In its order,the Bench said: We have taken a decision to henceforth treat this petition as a Public Interest Litigation and to call for reports periodically for monitoring the progress of the preliminary inquiries,investigations,grant of sanctions and other consequential matters for ensuring that there are no further unacceptable delays at different stages.
The court has also directed the Secretary of DoPT to submit an affidavit explaining the delays in granting sanction for filing of the chargesheet prepared by CBI against Shukla in the case pertaining to financial bungling in upgradation of 89 hospitals in the state.
The court also asked him to explain the steps being taken to streamline the process of granting sanction for prosecution of Shukla.
Shukla had been arrested on May 10 in connection with the case and granted bail on August 9 on technical grounds because the CBI had failed to file a chargesheet within the stipulated 90 days.
The court has also made Secretary of Ministry of Personnel,Public Grievances and Pensions (under which the DoPT falls) a respondent in the case.
The court directed that the exercise should be completed within seven days. The next hearing is scheduled for September 25.
Investigating officer has explaining to do
The High Court has sought an affidavit from Superintendent of Police (CBI),who is monitoring the investigation,as to why the special CBI court was not explained in time that the chargesheet against Pradeep Shukla was complete and the agency was awaiting necessary sanction from the DoPT. The CBIs failure to chargesheet Shukla within stipulated 90 days time had led to his release. The CBI had told the High Court on August 30 that chargesheet in one of the five cases financial misappropriation in upgradation of 40 hospitals had been sent to the DoPT for sanction. Shukla,who was the principal secretary of health and family welfare when the scam took place,was with the Board of Revenue when he was arrested.