IPS officer Satish Gajbhiye, who is in the dock over disproportionate use of force against civilian protesters, now faces a departmental probe over allegations that he pocketed the prize money meant for his subordinates and informers in catching a Maoist.
A departmental proceeding by Odisha home department initiated last Saturday has accused Gajbhiye of misappropriating Rs 3,55,000 meant as reward money for six police personnel and two civilian informers.
Sriramulu Srinivas alias Sudarshan, a Central Committee member of CPI(Maoist) and mastermind of the 2003 Alipiri claymore mine blast aimed at killing then Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu, was arrested in July 2007 from Malkangiri district. Srinivas, chief of Revolutionary Writers’ Association and a member of CPI(Maoist)’s Andhra-Odisha Border Special Zone Committee was released from Malkangiri jail in 2011 to secure the freedom of abducted district collector Vineel Krishna. However, in March 2013, Andhra police arrested Srinivas near the Ordisha-Andhra border. In Malkangiri, Srinivas was the main fundraiser for Maoists, collecting upto Rs 1 crore a year from civil contractors and companies as protection money.
In 2008, the state police headquarters sanctioned monetary reward of Rs 1,55,000 for six police personnel of the constable rank who caught him. Another Rs 2 lakh was sanctioned for two local Bengali youths who had tipped off the police. The total amount was deposited for disbursement in the Malkangiri branch of State Bank of India in the name of then SP Gajbhiye.
When Gajbhiye did not disburse the amount several months after it was sanctioned, three of the police personnel complained to their seniors. In 2011, an inquiry by a DIG-rank officer established that Gajbhiye had neither disbursed the prize money nor had he submitted the utilisation certificate or the original disbursement voucher. The two informers, whose identity was not disclosed by Gajbhiye, also reportedly did not get any money. A family member of one of the informers was later killed by Maoists.
Gajbhiye was then asked to explain the non-disbursement of the reward amount and non-submission of the utilisation certificate. “In spite of repeated reminders, Gajbhiye failed to satisfactorily explain about the non-disbursement of the full amount and failed to produce documents in support of disbursement of the full reward money to 6 policemen and 2 civilians. Rather he gave self-contradictory, evasive and inconsistent explanation and false pleas in the matter of actual disbursement,” the charges against Gajbhiye said.
“He has grossly misconducted himself by not maintaining absolute integrity under Rule 2 of All India Service (conduct) Rules, 1968.” The 2002-batch officer was suspended in August following criticism of his alleged excesses against people protesting against self-proclaimed godman Sarathi baba. He faces two other departmental probes as well. Last month, the department charged him with extra-judicial action and gross misconduct over purchasing 8.506 acres of land in Puri district in the name of his wife, but not declaring the purchase in his immovable property returns.
The home department has also accused him of encroaching upon 1.69 acres of government land.