The Delhi High Court on Wednesday rejected a plea by former IPS officer Satish Chandra Verma, who assisted the CBI in its probe in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, against the Centre’s order dismissing him a month before his scheduled retirement.
Verma was dismissed from service on August 30 last year, a month ahead of his scheduled retirement on September 30, 2022, after a departmental inquiry found him guilty of various charges, including “interacting with public media”. Verma had approached the high court following the Supreme Court’s order allowing him to file a plea.
“We find no merit in the writ petition. Writ petition is dismissed,” a bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva said. The Supreme Court on September 19 2022, had stayed the Centre’s dismissal order for a week 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.
Subsequently, on September 26 of the same year, the high court had refused to stay the Centre’s order dismissing Verma. 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 killed in an alleged 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. 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. As per the high court’s order, the allegations against Verma were that he interacted with public media on March 2 and 3, 2016 and in an interview with a news channel at the official premises of North Eastern Electric Power Corporation at Guwahati without any authorisation or permission from the competent authority and spoke unauthorisedly on matters which were within the sphere of his duties.
It was alleged that he had made a statement of fact and opinion in the encounter matter which had the effect of an adverse criticism of Central and state governments.
It was further alleged that Verma did not make it clear that the views expressed by him were his own and not that of the government. An inquiry was conducted and it was concluded that the articles of charge have been proved.
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