Tainted IAS officer gets CAT relief

Bhubaneswar: The Cuttack bench of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) on Thursday granted an interim stay on the suspension order.

Tribunal quorum comprising Administrative member C R Mohapatra and Judicial member A K Patnaik also asked the state government to file counters to Prusty’s application within four weeks and asked the applicant to file rejoinder, if any, within two weeks thereafter.

The CAT directed the government to allow the IAS officer to continue in his official capacity as before.

Prusty, a 2003-batch IAS officer and currently posted as Director of Higher Education, was put under suspension on Saturday last for his alleged role and subsequent vigilance case against him in coal scam during his tenure as General Manager of Cuttack DIC between May 2007 and April 2010.

On the same ground, he had earlier been suspended in July last year which was, however, stayed by CAT in August with a direction that the stay would continue till Prusty filed an appeal before the appellate authority.

Orissa High Court too in November last year confirmed the tribunal order with an observation that if Prusty opted an appeal, delay in filing appeal shall be condoned.

But despite these directives from the tribunal and HC, the state government on February 5 served a second suspension order on the officer stating that the appeal period for him had expired on August 31, 2010 as per All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules of 1969 which stipulates an appeal period of 45 days from the date of suspension.

Challenging last week’s suspension order on several grounds, Prusty had moved the CAT on Monday urging it to quash the impugned order. Prusty had maintained that the second suspension order served on him did not take into account the relief he was granted by the tribunal and HC last year.

Observing that the high court order has been ignored, the CAT quorum contended that the February 5 order of suspension was issued without application of mind.