CAT directs govt to conclude proceedings against IAS officer

Cuttack: The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) on Wednesday directed the state government to complete the disciplinary proceedings initiated against senior IAS officer Prashanta Kumar Naik by June 30.

Naik is placed under suspension for over four years now for his alleged role in Balasore sex scandal of 1999.

The government had initiated the proceedings against Naik on August 29, 2005. But strangely, after more than five years the date for the preliminary enquiry has not yet been fixed.

Taking up an application filed by Naik seeking to quash the proceedings against him, CAT Judicial member A K Patnaik directed the government to complete the exercise or else the proceedings shall be deemed quashed.

"Conclude the disciplinary proceedings initiated against the applicant preferably by the end of 30th June, 2011, if necessary by holding inquiry on day-to-day basis; failing which the proceedings shall be deemed to have been quashed," the CAT order said.

The tribunal judicial member also asked Naik to cooperate in all aspects for finalisation of the proceedings.

In May 2007, the state government had appointed senior IAS officer S P Nanda, the then forest and environment dept secretary as the Investigation Officer (IO) to conduct the enquiry pertaining to the disciplinary proceedings against Naik.

Similarly, senior OAS officer P K Mishra was also appointed as the presenting officer in the case.

But during this period, Nanda`s postings and designations have kept on changing and the state government has not made it clear whether the IO was precluded from proceeding further in the matter because of such changes in his postings. This has, however, resulted in keeping the disciplinary proceedings against Naik kept in hanging for such a long period.

Due to abnormal delay in the enquiry, Naik had approached the CAT praying to quash the disciplinary proceedings against him.