On a day when the Uttar Pradesh government suspended IPS officer Amitabh Thakur for “indiscipline,” another civil servant slug it out in the Supreme Court, accusing the state government of harassing honest officers.
IAS officer Vijay Shankar Pandey, who had joined a campaign to retrieve the black money and lent his support to a PIL on it in the top court, has filed a petition against the “mala fide” acts of the Akhilesh Yadav-government in sitting over a proposal by the Centre to enable his central deputation.
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On Monday, senior advocate Pallav Shishodia, appearing for Pandey, told a bench led by Justice J Chelameswar that the officer was being subjected to sheer harassment only because he had dared to expose corruption by knocking on the doors of the court.
“The state has been consistently acting with mala fide in order to sabotage his service career. They are only interested in depriving him of his legitimate claims of a progression in his service,” said Shishodia.
In February this year, the Joint Secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat had requested the Chief Secretary of the UP government to intimate the availability of Pandey for central deputation in near future for his appointment to a Secretary level or an equivalent post. Pandey is currently working as Secretary in the National Integration department of the state.
The UP government, however, sat over this request and chose not to respond, said Shishodia. “They just don’t want to decide and the intention is clear. The petitioner (Pandey) is due to retire next year. If the state government declines, there will still be a remedy but the motive is to leave him without a recourse,” he added.
The counsel pointed out that Pandey had previously approached the top court against disciplinary proceedings initiated against him after he actively participated as a member of a social group that filed a PIL and prompted the Supreme Court to pass a judgment on setting up an SIT to retrieve black money.
In September 2014, the court had quashed the proceedings while ruling that any civil servant, who exposes corruption by moving a court cannot be subjected, to disciplinary action. Shishodia reminded the bench that it had also directed the state government to pay Rs 5 lakh to Pandey as cost after noting that “the whole attempt appears to be to suppress any probe into the question of black money by whatever means, fair or foul.”
After the counsel referred to the previous judgment, the bench asked Shishodia: “Have they paid to you the cost?” Shishodia retorted: “Yes. And I am still paying the cost.”
The bench then issued notices on Pandey’s petition and sought UP government’s reply within two weeks. Pandey has appealed against an order by the Allahabad High Court, which had in June asked the state government to respond to the Centre’s letter preferably within three months.
A day ago, Thakur, who was IG, Civil Defence, was suspended with immediate effect after being found prima facie guilty of “indiscipline”, “anti-government point of view”, days after he accused Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav of “threatening” him.