Court sends Ex. Sr. IAS Officer to Custody in a Land Grabbing Case on Complaint of Ex. District Judge

Retired IAS officer Umrao Salodia & 5 others were remanded in custody on Monday till Sept 5 for their involvement in a land grabbing case which was registered in 2013 & investigated by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).

The case was filed by 7 stakeholders who accused Salodia, the then chairman of the revenue board, & other officials of taking decisions & conspiring to defraud them of around 70 bighas in Harmada worth hundreds of crore by favouring another party in a land dispute.

Nanagram Sharma, a complainant in the case & a retired district judge,told “Salodia took the decision to allow another party to grab our land without actually having any right over it. For the last 7 years, I & other stakeholders have been fighting the legal battle to reveal that all the accused had done injustice & indulged in corruption & forgery. There are enough records for these which has been investigated by Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).”

In 2015, Salodia had taken voluntary retirement & claimed to have converted to Islam & changed his name to Umrao Khan.The bureaucrat had publicly declared to have converted to Islam in protest against the previous Vasundhara Raje govt, which denied him a chance to become the chief secretary on the seniority basis by granting a 3-month extension to the then incumbent C S Rajan in Dec 2015.

During his protest in 2015, Salodia said that he was the first Dalit to become an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer in the state & would have been the first Dalit to occupy the top bureaucratic post of the chief secretary. But the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) govt conspired & granted extension to Rajan only to deny him (Salodia) the chance. Alleging bias against him on caste grounds, the officer had quit govt service 6 months before he was due to retire on June 30, 2016. He had simultaneously changed his surname to Khan. However, when he contested the recent Lok Sabha election as a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate from Jaipur seat he used his original surname.

Centre in High Court against CIC order on Khemka’s deputation

The Centre has moved the Delhi High Court against a CIC order asking it to inform whether IAS officer Ashok Khemka, known for cancelling Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra’s alleged illegal land deal in Gurgaon, was considered for the post of joint secretary in the Centre.

The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) in its plea has also challenged a single judge’s order upholding the January 2017 decision of the Central Information Commission (CIC).

The CIC in its order had directed DoPT to disclose whether the name of Khemka, an IAS officer of 1991 batch of the Haryana state cadre, was placed before the Civil Services Board (CSB) for deputation as joint secretary to Government of India under the Central Staffing Scheme of 2014.

The matter is expected to be heard by a bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and A K Chawla in July.

The appeal by the DoPT, moved through advocates Rahul Sharma and C K Bhatt, has claimed that the information sought by Khemka, also known for the numerous times he has been transferred, was exempted from the ambit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

The plea also claimed that the information sought is held in fiduciary capacity by the DoPT and therefore, cannot be provided under the RTI Act.

However, this line of argument had not been accepted by the single judge, Justice Vibhu Bakhru, who last year had said that if the DoPT’s stand was accepted then any information held by any public authority would be exempted.

Supreme Court sets aside Himachal High Court order denying relief to IFS officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi

The Supreme Court has set aside a high court order that had declined to interfere with a plea made by Indian Forest Service officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi seeking a stay on a criminal defamation complaint filed against him by Himachal Pradesh Chief Secretary Vineet Chawdhary.

An supreme court bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra found that the Himachal Pradesh High Court order had not adverted to any aspect nor addressed the submissions of the petitioner and sent the matter back to it for passing a reasoned order.

“On a perusal of the order passed by the high court, we find that the learned judge, except stating that he is not inclined to interfere in the petition seeking quashing of the complaint, has not adverted to any aspect. Be it noted though the submissions has been referred to in the impugned order, the same have not at all been addressed,” the apex court said.

In view of the aforesaid, it is appropriate to set aside the impugned order and remand the matter to the high court for fresh consideration and pass a reasoned order in accordance with law, it said.

Vineet Chawdhary, a 1982-batch IAS officer of Himachal Pradesh cadre and former deputy director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences-Delhi, had filed a complaint against Chaturvedi in April 2016, alleging defamation for making public his vigilance profile.

He had also alleged that Chaturvedi made public a confidential letter written by the latter on August 16, 2014 in his capacity as the chief vigilance officer of AIIMS to the then chief secretary, Himachal Pradesh, giving information about pending corruption/departmental inquiries/proceedings against Chawdhary.

Chawdhary had alleged that this letter was circulated to ‘defame’ him and ‘malign his reputation’.

On Chawdhary’s complaint, a court in Shimla had issued summons to Chaturvedi on November 24, 2016.

Chaturvedi approached the Himachal Pradesh High Court seeking quashing of this order and also the complaint filed against him, and submitting that he has been summoned to face trial without there being any mandatory sanction of prosecution from government nor there being any evidence of his involvement in leaking the confidential letter.

On April 6, the high court refused to interfere with the local court order saying that it was open for the petitioner to approach the court concerned; enter appearance and take all such pleas at an appropriate stage.

“It is not that petitioner is remediless and as such must first take recourse to the remedies in accordance with law,” the order passed by the Himachal Pradesh High Court Acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol read.

It was against this order that Chaturvedi had moved the Supreme Court.

In his petition before the Supreme Court, Chaturvedi stated that being the chief vigilance officer of AIIMS, he had investigated instances of corruption allegedly involving Chawdhary, who was then the deputy director at the premier medical institution, and that being a public servant, no criminal proceedings can be initiated against him without prosecution sanction of the government.

In April this year, the Delhi High Court had issued notices to the central government on a petition filed by an NGO alleging illegal closure of cases involving Chawdhary and some other senior officials of AIIMS.

PIL challenges appointment of C’garh energy secy

A PIL has been admitted by the Chhattisgarh High Court by challenging the appointment of Aman Singh, a non-IAS officer, as the state’s Energy Secretary.

The division bench of Justices Sunil Sinha and Prashant Mishra also sought a reply from Singh within three weeks.

Nitin Sinha, a Raipur resident, who has filed the petition, contends that appointment of somebody who is not from the IAS is not valid.



Chargesheet filed in spectrum case in NDA regime

A charge sheet has been filled by the CBI in connection with alleged irregularities in spectrum allocation during the NDA regime involving three telecom companies, including Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India, while pegging the loss at Rs 846 crore.

The CBI in its charge sheet filed before Special CBI Judge O P Saini named as accused Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India Ltd and Hutchison Max and Sterling Cellular, retired IAS and former Telecom Secretary Shyamal Ghosh for alleged irregularities in grant of additional spectrum.

JR Gupta, former Deputy Director General (VAS) cell of DoT and former Director of BSNL, who was named in the FIR as one of the accused, has been made as one of the 73 witnesses in the case, the CBI told the court. The agency said no action has been taken against former telecom minister Pramod Mahajan and no charges have been found against the promoters of Airtel and Vodafone. The court has fixed January 14 for consideration of the charge sheet.

The agency alleged in the charge sheet that the DoT had increased the base spectrum for telecom companies from 4.4 MHz to 6.2 MHz during Mahajan’s tenure and also allocated extra spectrum on subscriber-based criteria. It alleged that Mahajan had allotted addition spectrum to these companies in a hurried manner and in contravention with the then telecom policy. The accused have been charge sheeted under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act relating to misconduct by public servant by accepting illegal gratification by abusing his official position.

“Investigation has revealed that Shyamal Ghosh, then chairman of Telecom Commission and Secretary DoT, in conspiracy with late Pramod Mahajan, then telecom minister and the accused beneficiary companies i.e Hutchison Max and Sterling Cellular and Bharti Airtel Ltd through their representatives, abused his official position as public person and showed undue favour which caused loss of Rs 846.44 crores to the government exchequer and corresponding undue gain to the aforesaid telecom companies,” it said. The agency said this included incidental gains to other telecom companies by charging additional one per cent of AGR instead of charging the required additional two per cent of AGR for allocation of additional spectrum from 6.2 MHz upto 10 MHz.

Court frames gangrape charges against senior IAS officer

A local court here Saturday framed gangrape charges against Haryana’s commissioner and secretary in fisheries department N.K. Jain in an eight-year-old rape case.

Jain, a 1978 batch Haryana-cadre Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, was Chandigarh home secretary at the time of the incident.

Charges of criminal conspiracy and putting a person in fear of accusation of offence to commit extortion were also framed against Jain in the court of additional district and sessions judge R.N. Bharti. The case is slated for next hearing Aug 23.

According to the police, Jain was booked in August 2002 for hatching a conspiracy to frame city-based industrialist M.K. Jain in a rape case.

One of N.K. Jain’s accomplice, Surinder Kumar, was booked for rape while three others — Ram Lal, Narveer and Baldev Kumar — were booked for conspiring with him.

A 21-year-old girl, resident of Shimla in Himachal Pradesh, was allegedly raped and thrown out of a car in an unconscious state in Sector 44 here Aug 14, 2000.

“The victim registered a complaint with the police, alleging that she was raped by M.K. Jain, resident of Sector 8 in Chandigarh, after being given some intoxicants in a cold drink,” Subash Sagar, who was the investigation officer in the case and is currently doing law practice, told IANS.

“However, during our investigation, we found that M.K. Jain was innocent and he was falsely implicated in the case by N.K. Jain and four other accused,” he said.

“Now we have provisions in our law that anyone conspiring in rape cases is liable to be slapped with charges of gangrape,” he added.

The Chandigarh Police filed a chargesheet against the five accused in January 2003 but the charges could not be framed in the court because a number of writ applications were filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court by the accused, seeking quashing of the case.