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Ramakanta Biswas

Cuttack: In a major relief for IPS officer Satish Gajbhiye, the Orissa High Court on Tuesday quashed a disciplinary proceeding initiated against him thereby enabling him to get promotion and other benefits.

The present disciplinary proceeding pertains to alleged non-payment of reward money of  anti-Maoist scheme during Gajbhiye's stint as Malkangiri SP. In 2015, the Home department had initiated the Disciplinary Proceeding against him in this regard for violation of Rule-3 of the All India Services (Conduct) Rules 1968.

According to sources, a hardcore Maoist was arrested on July 7, 2007 and an amount of Rs 3,55,000 was sanctioned and remitted to Gajbhiye for making payment of Rs 1,55,000 to six police personnel who were actually involved in the arrest and balance amount to the civilian informers.

However, some police personnel lodged complaint against Gajbhiye alleging non-receipt of the reward amount. After receipt of complaint from the Police Personnel, a preliminary inquiry was conducted by the DIGP (Intelligence), Sanjeeb Panda, which established that the amount was not disbursed. Accordingly, a disciplinary proceeding was initiated against the petitioner.

Gajbhiye had challenged the disciplinary proceeding and moved the Central Administrative Tribunal, Cuttack seeking quashing of the proceeding.

The case was then transferred to Central Administrative Tribunal, Principal Bench, New Delhi. After hearing, the tribunal dismissed the petition of Gajbhiye stating that 'the disciplinary proceedings are reaching the final stage, we do not find it appropriate to scuttle them at this stage.'

Gajbhiye again challenged the ruling and filed a Writ Petition in the Orissa High Court. During the hearing, the High Court observed that, "A proceeding which is not initiated in lawful manner sans the avowed principles of natural justice cannot be a just proceeding and is void ab initio."

The court directed the Opposite Parties to confer all the promotions and benefits appurtenant thereto retrospectively to the petitioner vis-a-vis his batch mates within a month from today.

Gajbhiye, an Odisha cadre IPS officer belonging to 2002 batch, is reportedly facing three disciplinary proceedings for which the State government has withheld his promotion. He is still a SP-ranked officer and serving as principal of Urban Police and Traffic Training Institute, Bhubaneswar though he would have been promoted to the Inspector General (IG) rank by now.

Recently, the IPS officer had urged the Odisha government to drop all charges against him and sought promotion retrospectively.

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)

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