BIKASH BHOWMIK Vs. STATE OF TRIPURA
HIGH COURT TRIPURA
STATE OF TRIPURA
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Akil Kureshi,J. -
(1.) Petitioner has challenged a departmental inquiry instituted against him as also an order placing him under suspension pending such departmental inquiry.
(2.) Brief facts are as under :
At the relevant time, petitioner was Junior Engineer in the Government of Tripura. A complaint was made against him holding assets disproportionate to his known source of income before the Lokayukta, Tripura, who upon completion of the investigation submitted his report dated 24th January, 2013 in which he had concluded that the petitioner had received salary of Rs.22,13,279/- for the period between 1998 to March, 2012 as against which he had created assets worth Rs.74,26,472/- which was referable to the same period of 1998 to March, 2012. After accounting for reasonable living expenses, the Lokayukta was of the opinion that the petitioner held assets disproportionate to his known source of income. He recommended initiation of departmental proceedings as well as criminal case against the petitioner and to place him under suspension. The petitioner was first placed under suspension in contemplation of departmental inquiry. On 25th March, 2015 the disciplinary authority issued a departmental charge sheet to the petitioner which contained two charges. Charge Article I was that as held by the Lokayukta in his report, the petitioner had amassed wealth far in excess of his known source of income. Charge Article II was that by such actions the petitioner had committed offences punishable under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. On 13th May 2015, the disciplinary authority appointed Inquiry Officer.
(3.) The petitioner had filed WP(C) 47/2013 challenging the report of the Lokayukta on various grounds. This petition was disposed of by the Division Bench by a judgment dated 28th July, 2015 relevant portions of which read as under :
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12. While taking this view we are also not oblivious to the fact that the Lokayukta only makes recommendations to the State Govt. It is for the State Govt. to accept or reject the said recommendations. If the criminal proceedings or departmental proceedings as recommended by the Ld. Lokayukta are not time barred, we fail to understand how the State of Tripura can be restrained from taking any action against the petitioner even if it be on the report of the Ld. Lokayukta. Once material has come to the notice of the State Govt., which is the employer, which prima facie indicates that the petitioner has indulged in some corrupt practices then the State Govt. is duty bound to take action.
13. We, therefore, find no merit in the petition which is accordingly rejected. The stay order is vacated. We make it clear that we have not expressed any opinion on the merits of the case and we have gone only by the recommendations of the Ld. Lokayukta which are recommendations of facts and which we cannot set aside in writ petition.
14. We may also make it clear that in any departmental proceedings or criminal proceedings, which may be launched against the petitioner, he shall have the right to defend the same on all grounds and it will be for the department/the prosecution to prove the case in accordance with law and the report of the Lokayukta cannot be treated as evidence in that matter.' ;
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