Retired IPS officer Rajnish Rai, who oversaw the investigation into the 2007 Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case and was later denied voluntary retirement by the Centre, sought protection from the Gujarat High Court on Wednesday.
The plea for protection cited the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development’s (MHRD) second letter to the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), asking why it hired Rai as assistant professor. IIM-Ahmedabad director Errol D’Souza had replied to HRD Ministry’s first letter, defending the institute’s decision to recruit Rai and stating that it was done in accordance with the rules. D’Souza is also learnt to have informed the HRD Ministry that the institute had recruited Rai only after seeking legal advice and as per the advice, Rai is retired and not under suspension.
Rai applied for voluntary retirement from the All India Services in November 2018 and has been working with IIM-A as an assistant professor of Public Systems Group since May 6 this year. At a July 23 hearing, his counsel, advocate Rahul Sharma, told the court that in the preceding week, the HRD Ministry had written to IIM-A, inquiring why the institute had employed Rai when he was under suspension as per the government’s records.
As reported by The Indian Express, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had notified the HRD Ministry that the Centre had not approved Rai’s VRS application. It also informed the ministry that the Centre had suspended Rai in December 2018 for leaving the services, and a chargesheet was filed against him on January 14.
On Wednesday, Sharma told the division bench headed by Justice S R Brahmbhatt, “For the past four months, the matter has been adjourned for one reason or another. They have now written twice to IIM-A on his (Rai’s) employment with them. Misleading arguments have been made and now they are interfering with my client’s current employment. They are playing games behind the scenes. Give us some protection, otherwise they will harm my client irreparably.”
Despite the two letters inquiring about Rai’s employment with IIM-A, advocate Nirzar Desai, representing the central government, dismissed Rai’s apprehensions. Desai said, “We are complying with interim orders of the High Court and the CAT (Central Administrative Tribunal). We have not even called him (Rai) for an inquiry.”