Updated: January 22, 2019 4:03:49 am
In a relief to Gujarat cadre IPS officer Rajnish Rai, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), Ahmedabad bench, Monday asked the central and the state governments to not take any action against the cop, whose plea for voluntary retirement has been rejected by the Centre, till next hearing.
This comes in view of a fresh chargesheet issued on January 14 to the officer, who is known for arresting three IPS officers while supervising the probe into Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case, by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for “unauthorised handing over of charge” of his office and proceeding on his disputed retirement.
The tribunal comprising judicial member M C Verma and administrative member Archana Nigam was hearing the application moved by Rai, challenging the rejection of his request for voluntary retirement. The advocates appearing for Gujarat and union governments sought time for filing reply. The central government’s counsel also hinted that the union government has objection over jurisdiction of this bench to hear Rai’s plea.
Meanwhile, Rai’s advocate Rahul Sharma informed the tribunal that his client has been issued a chargesheet in the same case and therefore, an order should be passed for maintaining the status quo. The tribunal brushed aside objections of counsels of state and union governments and ordered that authorities are directed not to “conclude the proceeding till next date of hearing”, which will come after two weeks.
On November 30 last year, Rai had quit service and informed the MHA that he had relinquished charge as Inspector General, Counter Insurgency and Anti-Terrorism School, CRPF in Chittoor and he be treated as having retired from the service with effect from November 30. However, his request was denied by the government and was asked to resume his service.
Rai had then moved the CAT in December last year on the ground that on November 30, he completed 50 years of age and under section 16 (2) All India Services (Death-Cum-Retirement Benefit) Rules, 1958, he was eligible for VRS (Voluntary Retirement from Service). This rule states that an officer can proceed on retirement after completion of 50 years of age with a condition that he or she is not under suspension.
Acting on his application, the CAT had issued notices to the central as well as Gujarat governments on December 10 and sought their responses by January 21. Meanwhile, on December 17, Rai was issued suspension order by MHA for “unauthorised handing over” of his charge.
Rai’s lawyer Sharma informed the tribunal that on January 19, his client received the chargesheet issued by Directorate General, CRPF, MHA. It says that the “President of India proposes to hold an inquiry against Rajnish Kumar Rai…under the rules of all India services…” It alleges that by unauthorised handing over of his charge, Rai has acted “in a manner unbecoming of a member of the service” and thereby violated the service rules.
The fresh chargesheet states that “three preliminary inquiry in different cases are pending/contemplated with the state government of Gujarat, he is not clear from vigilance angle and hence his request (for VRS) has not been acceded to.”
Among the witnesses against Rai are Anupam Kulshreshtha, IPS, Director General, CRPF, New Delhi, Ram Bilas Gupta, commandant CIAT, Chitoor, among others.
While receiving the fresh chargesheet, Rai has noted that “I accept the chargesheet without prejudice to my claim that I have already retired from service on 30/11/2018…”
The chargesheet also mentions about another chargesheet issued to Rai on August 25, 2017 by the MHA. This chargesheet pertains to initiating an inquiry by Rai as a chief vigilance officer at UCIL (Uranium Corporation of India), Jaduguda (Jharkhand). He was chargesheeted for inquiring “into alleged misconduct committed by CMD and functional director, UCIL without due approval of competent authority and submitted his investigation report directly to CBI, Ranchi…” Rai has found in his inquiry that there was large scale corruption in the corporation that needed to be investigated by a special investigation team.
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