The Gauhati High Court on Friday set aside the suspension of Nagaon district Deputy Superintendent of Police Sabita Das, as Assam authorities failed to frame charges against her within the stipulated time in an alleged bribery case.
Justice N Kotiswar Singh reinstated the senior police official with her rank and post as the state government did not frame charges against Das within the three-month period.
“The court set aside the suspension order. Her salary and other components will remain as earlier. The detailed judgement is being drafted,” Additional Senior Government Advocate Dipankar Nath told PTI here.
Das had filed a writ petition on October 10 last year, after she was placed under suspension for an alleged bribery case in Nagaon district. She had claimed in the petition that she is a victim of departmental rivalry as she had raised questions over the “nexus of some of the police officials with criminals”.
Iftiquer Rafique, advocate of Das, said the government must serve notice and frame charges of any wrong doing by a public servant, who is facing disciplinary action, within the stipulated time.
“Forget framing of charges, even notice was not served to Das in these months. The government failed to show any step taken in this case. So, the suspension order was set aside by the court,” he added.
Earlier, the court had ordered that Das be paid subsistence allowances, but she claimed she had not received it yet.
The complaint was filed against eight parties and the high court had issued notices to the Assam government, home secretary, home and political secretary, Director General of Police, Additional DGP (Administration), Additional DGP (Law and Order), Nagaon Superintendent of Police and Nagaon Sadar Police Station Officer-in-Charge.
Das claimed in the petition that “she is a victim of departmental rivalry and the whole alleged complaint is an outcome of the intolerant attitude shown by the petitioner towards illegal activities of some of her subordinate officers, who are the blue-eyed boys of some of her superior officers”.
“The petitioner (Das) has every reason to believe that the complaint filed against her and the subsequent departmental inquiry is an outcome of the conspiracy done by some of the officials of her department,” the writ petition stated.
Das charged that the whole procedure of conducting the inquiry against her, based on which the suspension order was issued, was “arbitrary and adopted with malafide intention”, making it liable for setting aside and quashing.
“The petitioner through her inquiry reports… has raised questions over the nexus of some of the police officials with criminals, and also about undisciplined behaviour of some of her subordinate officers, but till date no action has been taken against those police officers,” she alleged.
The controversial incident took place in the midnight of August 31 last year, when Das picked up four youths for allegedly consuming alcohol in a car in Nagaon city, and they could not produce any documents for the vehicle as well as for their identities.
The youths were immediately handed over to the Nagaon Sadar Police Station for further action as per law and were released the next day afternoon, after routine paper work.
However, two days later on September 3, one of the four boys — Sourabh Hazarika — claimed that a home guard had allegedly sought a bribe of Rs 40,000 on behalf of Das and filed a complaint before the DGP.
A departmental inquiry was conducted by Additional DGP (Administration) against Das and the report was submitted on September 7, following which she was placed under suspension on September 17.
Das claimed in the writ petition that she was not even informed about the inquiry and her version was not recorded,
She came to know about it only after receiving the suspension order, the offficial said.
The DSP had even filed a complaint against Hazarika and Khound on September 5, but she claimed that no action has been initiated yet.