SC stays order dismissing Gujarat IPS officer who probed Ishrat Jahan encounter

Ishrat Jahan
Ishrat Jahan, a resident of Mumbra near Mumbai, and three others, were allegedly killed in a staged encounter on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004. File photo: Manorama

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday stayed for a week the Centre's order dismissing Satish Chandra Verma, a senior IPS officer who assisted the CBI in its probe in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, a month before his scheduled retirement.

Verma was dismissed from service on August 30, a month ahead of his scheduled retirement on September 30, after a departmental inquiry found him guilty of various charges including "interacting with public media".

A bench of Justices K M Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy allowed Verma to approach the Delhi High Court challenging his dismissal and said it is for the high court to consider the question as to whether the stay or vacation of dismissal order is to continue.

"We are of the view that in the facts of this case, the interests of justice would require that order passed by the respondent dismissing the appellant is not to be implemented till one week from today," the bench said.

Verma had probed the high-profile Ishrat Jahan case of 2004 between April 2010 and October 2011. Ishrat, a resident of Mumbra near Mumbai, and three others, were allegedly killed in a staged encounter on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004. The deceased were dubbed as LeT terrorists who were accused of having plotted to kill the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Supreme Court of India. File photo: Manorama

Based on his investigation report, a Special Investigation Team had concluded that the encounter was "fake".

The Gujarat High Court had later directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe the case and avail Verma's services.

If the dismissal comes into effect, he will not be entitled to pension and other retirement benefits.

The senior police officer was last posted as inspector general with the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Tamil Nadu.

Verma had moved the top court after the high court allowed the home ministry to take action against him in the wake of a departmental inquiry that found the charges against him, including that of "interacting with public media" when he was the chief vigilance officer of the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation, Shillong, to be true.

While passing its final order, the high court had on August 30 said the disciplinary proceedings against Verma shall not be implemented without the court's permission if it is prejudicial to him.

Following this order, the central government again moved the high court seeking its permission to impose disciplinary action to dismiss Verma from service.

Permitting the Centre to implement the order, a division bench of the high court said, "It is directed that the order shall not be implemented till September 19, 2022, to enable the petitioner to avail of his remedies in accordance with law against the order of dismissal."

Subsequently, Verma approached the apex court.  

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