(1.) By the present petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, the petitioner has questioned the correctness of the Order dated 10 th September 2004 passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal, Bombay Bench, Mumbai in Original Application No.729 of 2002, dismissing the said Original Application thereby confirming the Order of dismissal of the petitioner from service by an Order dated 25.9.2001 passed by the Respondent No.4-Disciplinary Authority i.e. the Senior Superintendent of Post Offices, Nashik Division, Nashik.
(2.) Heard Shri Sen, the learned counsel for thepetitioner and Shri Y.S. Bhate for the respondents at length and also perused the entire record produced before us.
(3.) The petitioner joined the services in the Postal Department of the respondents on 21.3.1963. The petitioner was working as a Sorting Postman in the Industrial Estate Pose Office, Nashik during the period from 1.12.1990 to 22.12.2000. That on 8.9.2000 the petitioner was ordered by Smt. P.V. Mahajan, Sub-Post Master of Industrial Estate Post Office to convey two cash bags containing remittance of Rs.1,00,000/- and Rs.93,000/- respectively. Mr. M.B. Chandwade, Senior Postman was asked to accompany the petitioner as an escort. The petitioner received the said two cash bags from Shri R.S. Kadam, Treasurer of the Industrial Estate Post Office, Nashik. The petitioner and Mr. Chnadwade were suppose to carry the said two bags to Nashik Head Office and hand it over to the Treasurer Shri R.P. Shelar and obtain the signature of the Treasurer in his receipt book. The said remittance was noted in the Sub-Office Account of the Industrial Estate Post Office dated 8.9.2000. The Senior Post Master of Head Office, Nashik was supposed to collect the remittance noted in the Sub-Office daily account of the Industrial Estate Post Office dated 8.9.2000 with the remittances as per the Rules prescribed under the Postal Manual. As the above two remittances noted in the Industrial Post Office dated 8.9.2000 were not received by the Senior Post Master, Nashik Head Office, the Senior Post Master initiated immediate enquiry. The preliminary inquiry made with the petitioner revealed that though he had accepted the above two cash bags, he did not hand it over to the Treasurer, Shri R. P.
Shelar of Nashik Head Office. The record discloses that, when the petitioner attended his duty on 9.9.2000 at the Industrial Estate Post Office, it was revealed that the colleague of the petitioner namely Shri M.B.
Chandwade, Senior Postman did not attend the duty. During the course of the preliminary enquiry, as was ordered by the Senior Post Master, Nashik Head Office, the statement of the petitioner came to be recorded on 9.9.2000 by Shri B.N. Dhokale, A.S.P., West Sub-Division, Nashik. In the said statement the petitioner stated that on 8.9.2000 in the evening, he was directed to carry the said two cash bags for remittance to Nashik Head Office by Smt. P.V. Mahajan, Sub-Post Master, Industrial Estate Post Office, Nashik and Shri M.B. Chandwade was directed to be an escort to the petitioner. The petitioner informed that as he was of old age and was not keeping good health, after taking custody of the said two cash bags, Shri Chandwade told him that he will do the needful and will convey the remittances.. As the petitiioner was was having good faith and trust in Shri M.B. Chandwade, he handed over the said two bags to Shri Chandwade for its remittance to Nashik Head Office That Shri Chandwade thereafter collected the said two cash bags from the petitioner for its onward transmission to Nashik Head Office. When the petitioner attended his duty on the next day at about 9.30 a.m., Smt. P.V. Mahajan, Sub-Post Master of Industrial Estate Post Office informed him that yesterday's remittance was not received at Nashik Head Office. In the said statement recorded by Shri B.N. Dhokale on 9.9.2000, the petitioner admitted to reimburse the loss of Rs.1,93,000/- caused to the Departmental if Shri Chandwade would not credit the said amount in the Government Treasury, as the petitioner claimed responsibility for the said amount.
The record further discloses that Smt. P.V. Mahajan, Sub-Post Master of the Industrial Estate Post Office, Nashik thereafter lodged a complaint dated 9.9.2000 with the Sarkarwada Police Station informing the police that the two sealed cash bags containing Rs.1,93,000/- respectively were handed over to the petitioner, Sorting Postman and Shri M.B.
Chandwade, Senior Postman after obtaining their acquittance in cash book for conveyance to Nashik Head Office. That the said cash bags were not received at Nashik Head Office till evening. Out of the said two person, the petitioner returned in the evening of 8.9.2000 and attended the duty on 9.9.2000, but Shri M.B. Chandwade did not attend the duty on 9.9.2000 and therefore it was requested to enquie into the matter.;