September 27, 2020

CAT for IAS officer’s cadre change

Patna: In a major relief to embattled IAS officer Jitendra Gupta, who was wrongly implicated and trapped by the Vigilance Investigation Bureau in July 2016, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has asked the Bihar government to allow the change of his cadre to Haryana and report compliance within four weeks.

In case that does not happen, the state chief secretary will have to appear “in person” before the court on the next date of hearing, scheduled on July 26.

An order delivered by the bench of CAT chairman Justice Dinesh Gupta and member K.N. Shrivastava on June 1 states: “The respondents are obliged to implement the order of the tribunal. Learned counsel for the government of Bihar seeks and is allowed four weeks to report compliance failing which the respondent shall remain present before the court on the next date of hearing.”

The tribunal, in its latest order, has noted that its order dated March 22 has not been complied with and Bihar government’s counsel has submitted that it has been challenged before the Delhi High Court via a writ petition.

“He (the Bihar government’s counsel) has also placed a copy of order dated May 25 passed by the Hon’ble high court in the said writ petition. We notice that the Hon’ble high court has not granted any stay against the tribunal’s order and the Union of India has submitted before the Hon’ble high court that it does not propose to challenge the tribunal’s order,” the latest CAT order said.

A Vigilance Investigation Bureau (VIB) team had arrested Gupta on bribery charges on July 13, 2016, while he was serving as the sub-divisional officer at Mohania in Kaimur district after he took action against the “entry mafia”, which ensures entry of overloaded trucks without proper permit into Bihar, inflicting a huge loss to the state exchequer and damaging roads. The raiding team showed recovery of Rs 80,000 in cash from his driver.

The 2013-batch IAS, also a qualified doctor with a postgraduate degree in orthopaedics, had to spend a month in jail.

However, Patna High Court quashed the case and exonerated Gupta of all the charges. The state government challenged it in the Supreme Court, which dismissed the case at the admission stage itself. Later, Bihar government withdrew the charges against him.

Since then, Gupta had moved for cadre transfer. The Supreme Court had directed the authorities to look into his grievance and take appropriate action. Though the central and Haryana governments agreed to change of cadre, Bihar government has been throwing spanner after spanner, spending time and money to retain Gupta in Bihar.

Sources said the state government has been engaging lawyers who charge around Rs 4 lakh per hearing while appearing in Delhi High Court. Time will tell what step it takes next.

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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