In a minor reprieve for suspended Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Sujata Patil, who was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) for allegedly accepting bribe last year, the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal (MAT) in a recent order has asked the state government to review her suspension over the next six weeks. In her petition before the tribunal, Patil’s lawyer had argued that even as nine months have passed since her suspension, neither has the chargesheet been filed against her by the ACB nor departmental enquiry initiated by the department.
On October 8 last year, Patil, who was ACP of Meghwadi Division, was apprehended by the ACB for allegedly accepting Rs 40,000 from a godown owner in Jogeshwari in lieu of taking action against trespassers. She was arrested by the ACB and later released on bail. Later, in October, the Maharashtra government suspended her. A high-profile officer, Patil had been in the news in the past for a poem she had written condemning alleged vandals of the Amar Jawan Jyoti during Azad Maidan riots in 2012. She also regularly received media coverage for observing fast during the month of Ramzan every year.
Patil filed two applications before MAT. While one was related to her transfer to the Mira Bhayandar Vasai Virar (MBVV) Police Commissionerate a month before she was arrested, the other application was against her suspension. On the issue of her suspension, the tribunal observed, “Insofar as challenge to the suspension order dated 29.10.2021 is concerned, admittedly, though period of more than 9/10 months is over, till date, charge-sheet is not filed in Criminal Case (Anti-Corruption case) nor DE is initiated by the Department.”
The tribunal further observed, “..since period of near about 9/10 months from the date of suspension is over, the Respondent (Maharashtra government) is required to take review of suspension in terms of policy decision taken by Government reflected in G.R. dated 14.10.2011 which inter-alia provides for periodical review of Government servants who are suspended on account of registration of criminal offence.” The tribunal directed the government to take the necessary steps within a period of six weeks.
The tribunal, however, quashed the other application challenging Patil’s transfer to MBVV Commissionerate from Meghwadi division in Mumbai on the grounds that the transfer was necessitated in view of serious default report against her. The police establishment board had recommended her transfer which had been approved by the then CM.